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Puzzling over parking: Assessing the transitional parking requirement in Vancouver, British Columbia

Alex Jürgen Thumm and Anthony Perl

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 2020, vol. 139, issue C, 85-101

Abstract: Drawing upon Flyvbjerg's (1998) insight that planning is defined more by the political than the rational, we examine the experience of parking reform, as attempted by municipal officials, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The literature offers a broad consensus that minimum parking requirements represent a misguided and inefficient policy producing excess parking in the wrong places and reduced housing affordability. Yet minimum parking requirements remain a near-universal fixture in municipal regulations. We examine the stubborn disconnect between Vancouver’s parking standards and its strategic policies. Rather than reiterating normative debates, we consider how ideas and institutions could shape officials’ hesitation in reform. We reveal the compromise that ensues under planning's duality of designing credible, forward-looking strategy while managing the political constraints created by policy path dependence. We find that Vancouver’s laneway housing parking requirement represents a typology that could propagate across North America: a transitional parking requirement of political compromise, which, we suggest, has the potential to produce a workable reconciliation of theory and practice.

Keywords: Parking requirements; Parking reform; Urban planning; Vancouver (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2020.07.007

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