Mpls. to consider limiting apartment parking to boost transit use

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New apartments built near good transit links in Minneapolis will not have to provide parking spaces for renters, provided a proposal passes the city council next month.

A council committee met Thursday to discuss removing the requirement in certain parts of the city that there be one parking space for every apartment, which members say is expensive for developers who then pass on the cost to renters – not all of whom own a car.

It's hoped the move will reduce rental costs and encourage more people to use public transit, which according to this council report reflects a growing national trend of Americans seeking alternatives to the car.

Under the plan, new apartment buildings built near to light rail stations and high-frequency bus routes in Minneapolis would not be required to build off-street parking for its residents – although the option would still remain to build them should they wish.

Exceptions to the rule would be buildings with more than 50 apartments – albeit spaces would still be reduced – while a zone around the University of Minnesota would also be exempted due to the "unique parking challenges" in the area.

MPR reports the plan was backed by the zoning and planning committee, with proposer Lisa Bender saying: "This is about putting people over cars. It supports our policies about climate change. It supports our policies about directing growth near transit, and it supports our policies of opening up more housing and transportation options to people."

The council report notes that every off-street parking spaces cost developers an extra $20,000 above ground, and $55,000 for underground – which tends to be factored into rental prices.

One of the risks of making the change would be seeing extra cars on the streets, which MPR notes led council president Barbara Johnson to request an exemption for her north Minneapolis ward as well.

"As neighborhoods are more affluent in residential areas of the city, there's less parking on the street," she said. "There's more parking on the street where people don't have access to lots of dollars."

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