Last week, OP noted that we are revising our proposed parking requirements; a reexamination based on the comments we received as part of our extensive public process, and a reevaluation of how new parking standards could and should be implemented. Many people have commented on this, and a few people have contacted us to get more information on this new draft text.
Well, we are still working on the actual text, but below is a summary of what we are working on. Some of the provisions are different; some will look familiar because we are not proposing to change them. Of course, this is a work in progress; aspects may change by the time the draft text is complete but we wanted you to know where we are headed.
Summary of current proposal:
• Eliminate separate transit zone text. This means that, unlike in earlier proposals, all parking regulations would be adopted as a comprehensive part of this ZRR process, not requiring additional, subsequent processes to map and implement separate transit zones.
• For any use, allow 50% by-right reduction in required parking for sites located close to transit (1/2 mile from a metro station, or ¼ mile from a streetcar line or WMATA bus route identified as part of the Priority Corridor Network).
• Low density residential zones: retain existing one space per lot requirement; except no on-site parking would be required where there is no alley access.
o Strong neighborhood concern about total elimination of requirement; likely to have minimal impact as providing on-site parking is standard practice.
o Addresses properties that cannot access parking from an improved alley; new curb cuts eliminate street parking (no net gain), negatively impacts streetscape character, can result in loss of street trees, and can create safety issues.
• Multi-family residential: standardize minimum parking requirement of 1 / 3 units greater than 4 units, and
• Commercial uses: somewhat standardize minimum parking requirement and tie to use category rather than zone.
o Corresponds to traffic consultant report (recommended 1 / 3 units); addresses some concerns raised about impact on ADA / seniors parking.
o Would lessen disincentive to develop smaller commercial corridor lots in lower density areas where parking is difficult to accommodate (lot size).
o Review of BZA cases indicated that parking relief tended to be for smaller lots, and averaged 50% of the required amount. All cases approved by BZA; almost all were proximate to transit.
o Relief by special exception for further reductions allows BZA and neighbors review of potential impacts; and was advocated by Zoning Commission and supported by traffic consultant study. Also allows incorporation of TDM measures into the zoning text.
• Industrial: minimum parking requirement for industrial uses similar to existing but 50% reduction for sites proximate to transit.
o Sites tend to be less metro accessible and can be labor intensive.
o Relief by special exception allows BZA and neighborhood to discuss possible impacts, and allows incorporation of TDM measures.
• Downtown: No minimum parking required in the expanded downtown for any use.
o Consistent with guidance from ZC and traffic consultant.
o Particularly prevalent alternatives available – metro, car share, bike share, etc.
• Institutional uses: parking requirements to be based on building size instead of people; standards for private schools and churches to be relatively compatible with existing code.
o Need for standardization, clarity, and more certainty in regulations.
o Studied existing institutional uses to minimize impact parking.
• Relief from parking would be by special exception, not by variance.
• Establish Transportation Demand Management (TDM) guidelines for review of any request for further parking relief, and examine mitigating TDM measures for proposals providing significantly more than the required amount of parking.
• Allow more vehicle parking flexibility:
o Facilitate sharing of parking spaces.
o Allow a greater number of small car spaces.
o Allow car-share spaces to count towards required parking.
o Facilitate mechanical parking systems to increase efficiency.
• Bike parking:
o Base bike parking on building area instead of number of car parking spaces as is required by existing code.
o Add a requirement for multi-family residential use, aligned with DDOT and Council direction at 1 space per 3 units.
o Require short and long term bike parking.
• Revise parking lot standards:
o Limit size of by-right surface parking lots.
o Establish greater landscaping and canopy tree requirements for surface parking lots.