Parking reform to help small businesses

Hi everyone! The City of Austin is dedicating a lot of resources to helping businesses get through this tough time, all while the City’s own budget will be strained. One option that would be free to the city, but make a big impact, is relaxing the parking requirements, either temporarily or ongoing. We hope that businesses can give up the parking expense, or convert the space to outdoor seating or shopping (good timing as the weather cools).

We’ve listed three examples, but would love to have more if you know of other small businesses that are forced to have parking that they could give up or make better use of.


Small Business Relief Through Parking Reform

Many businesses are currently experiencing less need for parking, as fewer employees and customers are not entering the workplace. This coincides with financial challenges due to COVID19, and many will not be able to continue operating without some kind of financial assistance. Unlike other financial assistance plans, adjusting parking regulations costs the city no money, and makes a big difference for the businesses.

Removing parking requirements for small businesses will allow them to give up off-site parking leases, and more creatively use their on-site parking space. In the short term, they can expand dining/drinking areas in their parking areas, and long-term, lease it to another business or expand their own. As we enter the cooler months, outdoor areas can be productive for sales, which will in turn support more jobs and sales tax revenue.

Example businesses:

Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery - Hyde Park
411 E 43rd St, Austin, TX 78751
District 9
Notes: Bakery required to buy off-site parking to fulfill parking requirements, even at a time with limited staff and little or no indoor seating available.

Casa de Luz - Barton Springs/Zilker
1701 Toomey Rd, Austin, TX 78704
District 5
Notes: Now resolved, the saga of parking was well documented, and cost the small business precious time and money. A change could avoid this from occurring for this business and others in the future.

Bufalina - ECC
1519 E Cesar Chavez St. Unit 200. Austin, TX 78702
District 3
Notes: Business continues to operate to-go, but is not serving inside (only tables are indoor). They are unable to use the space in front of the restaurant because of the city parking requirements. These spaces are also dangerous, as they are designed for cars to face the building with little protection if the car accidentally accelerated, and must reverse into the traffic lane to exit.

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