Ending parking minimums (laws requiring a specific number of parking spaces in different city contexts) is now being proposed by City Council. This across the board (city wide) proposal will detrimentally impact many residents and businesses. The unintended consequences of removing parking minimums citywide are significant. Lack of adequate parking could lead environmental harm from circling the neighborhood for the increasingly rarer space or greater green space loss for more onsite parking, leading to increased heat island impacts harmful and could push us further behind in addressing economic, racial, and environmental equity.
The removal of parking minimums is part of a set of goals, that dovetails with efforts of some to up-zone residential areas to add more, and larger, market rate housing. Cambridge is already a very dense city, and the City has plans to make it even denser. One strategy to do so, that is being pushed by some on Council currently is to stop requiring housing and commercial property developers to provide some minimal amount of parking for new residential or commercial owners and tenants.
Please read the City’s Envision and Moving Forward Report data on this issue:
Our city’s ENVISION FINAL REPORT calls for a moderated parking plan, removing parking minimums only in those areas where this can be done sustainably and without impacting the community. Envision DOES NOT call for ending parking minimums citywide and indeed seems to oppose such a plan. In some areas, for example in Harvard Square’s commercial area, parking minimums have already been removed because there is ample public transit. Each public square and neighborhood has its own particular needs and requirements. The Envision Final Report also expresses concern about spillover on residential streets. Again, the Envision Report never suggests removing parking minimums city wide. Let’s make sure we follow what Utile’s planning efforts provided by way of a city plan. Smart planning matters.
The Cambridge 2020 Moving Forward Report Transportation/ParkingData) breaks need down by neighborhood
Central Square and University Park
East Cambridge/North Point