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
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.
One of the questions we are often asked is when will we update the Transit Zone maps. As reflected in the proposed ZRR text, Transit Zones are apartment and mixed-use areas within walking distance of high-quality transit. OP is proposing to remove parking minimums and apply specified standards for pedestrian-oriented and lively streetscapes in these areas. Transit zones would not be located in the lower-density residential zones (R-1 through R-4).
The Transit Zone maps we have released thus far are illustrative and preliminary in nature. These preliminary maps are not intended to be read as official zoning maps and do not show final boundaries. They are intended to be starting points for discussion with the community. After the Zoning Commission adopts the final ZRR text, OP will work with the community to define those areas where Transit Zone designations would apply.