The city of Philadelphia recently released a draft of its new comprehensive plan, Philadelphia2035 [PDF]. The plan’s release makes New York the last city in the four largest Northeastern metro areas that hasn’t so much as stated a commitment to cutting back on off-street parking.
Philadelphia2035 calls for controlling congestion by adding parking maximums into the zoning code and pricing on-street parking high enough so that 15 percent of spaces are always free. Here in New York, we still pretend that adding off-street parking reduces traffic congestion.
At the same time, Philadelphia is moving forward with a brand new zoning code. According to an article by PlanPhilly’s Nick Gilewitz, the new code will eliminate parking minimums downtown and in the city’s many rowhouse neighborhoods. While Gilewitz notes that parking minimums will still require significant amounts of new parking in some relatively dense neighborhoods, he concludes that the end to many parking minimums “is a huge step forward in recognizing that Philadelphia has incredible public transit resources that can, and perhaps should, shape development.”