What brings together a D.C. neighborhood activist who has never had a driver’s license (much less a car) and a spokesman for AAA? Our shared conviction that proposed changes to D.C.’s zoning regulations will make the city a less attractive place to live, work, play and shop.
The city’s Office of Planning wants to eliminate on-site parking requirements for all new buildings constructed downtown or in mixed-use, transit-accessible neighborhoods throughout the city. But the District’s problem with parking is not that we have a glut of spaces downtown or near Metro stations. In fact, existing parking requirements are already significantly lower than current rates of car ownership and, as a result, they are more likely to produce too few rather than too many parking spaces.
While the Office of Planning contends that the city will grow without adding cars, Department of Motor Vehicles statistics suggest the opposite: The number of vehicles registered in the District increased by nearly 16,000 over the past three years. Curbside parking is already limited and, as the D.C. Department of Transportation acknowledges, will become scarcer as roads are reconfigured to accommodate streetcars and cyclists.