You may have heard that OP is changing the parking proposal that it will be bringing forward to the Zoning Commission. Yes, we are proposing to step back from the transit zone concept, areas within which there would be no minimum parking requirement. This proposal received a lot of support from some residents, and equally as much opposition from other residents at our many community meetings. That’s OK – achieving consensus when it comes to parking is unlikely.
So what are we proposing? Well, we are still finalizing the details, but will be taking a proposal forward to the Zoning Commission that:
• Continues to propose that the expanded downtown have no minimum parking requirement.
• As in the previous draft, proposes decreasing parking minimums, with additional by-right reductions for areas that are proximate to mass transit.
• Allows for reductions in required parking by special exception (rather than the current variance process).
• Examines better connecting parking to more effective transportation demand management programs.
Why would OP change its parking proposal now? First, we have been refining many of our proposals, over time, as we conduct additional research and hear from more residents. Second, in the case of parking minimums, we feel that a parking proposal that can be implemented more efficiently and more quickly is a better tool to address DC parking policy. Remember, the transit zones that were being proposed would not actually have been mapped anywhere in the city until after the ZC adopted language enabling them. OP would then work with neighborhoods and ANCs to discuss boundaries and where transit zones should actually be applied – i.e. a separate process with separate public meetings and Zoning Commission hearings after ZRR is completed. OP’s revised parking proposal would be effective with the adoption of the revised zoning regulations. Third, we are trying to respond to the City of today – one where many people want or need to drive and one where we have a wealth of transportation options, including great public transit, bike share, car share, and walkable neighborhoods that allows residents to live a car free or “car light” lifestyle.
The proposal we take to the Zoning Commission will be based on direction contained in the Comprehensive Plan and guidance provided by the Zoning Commission. And, we anticipate that any regulations adopted by the Zoning Commission could look different than the OP proposal and will be further shaped by community input through the Zoning Commission hearing process.
We know you are interested in the details and we will continue to post updates here on the blog. The revised parking proposal will be posted on our website, with a link from this blog, before the draft regulations are submitted to the Zoning Commission on July 29.