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New resolution calls for end to parking requirements across Austin

The Pedestrian Advisory Council passed a resolution this week to end minimum parking requirements throughout the city of Austin. (Photo: CBS Austin)

Minimum parking requirements could become a thing of the past in Austin.

The Pedestrian Advisory Council passed a resolution this week to end minimum parking requirements throughout the city of Austin.

In 2013, former council member Chris Riley spear-headed abolishing the minimum requirement for the downtown area, known as the Central Business District.

"There's a growing recognition that these requirements really serve no purpose other than to perpetuate dependence on cars,” Riley said Thursday.

Currently, city code requires developers add a set number of parking spaces for new buildings. Those can be spaced out in parking lots or in parking garages.

Riley said both kinds of parking spaces can lead to a less walkable city. He also said building owners transfer the cost of those spaces to renters and consumers.

"They take the cost of car storage and they generalize it among the whole population,” Riley said. "We all pay higher prices for goods and services as a result of these city parking requirements."

However, drivers need parking. That’s why the resolution calls to increase pay-for-parking to neighborhoods to meet demand. The money raised from those spots could then help pay for more sidewalks or other improvements in the surrounding area.

Riley said abolishing the minimum requirement throughout the city could help several small businesses. That includes Casa De Luz owner Eduardo Longoria. He’s been going back and forth with the city for nearly 15 years because the city requires he have 16 parking spaces at his Toomey Road location. He has two on-site parking spaces. "I go to court regularly,” Longoria said. “I am considered a criminal because of this."

Longoria said most of his customers walk to their location, and he said there is plenty of city parking nearby.

He said if the city council passes an amendment to the code similar to the resolution, then his fight with the city would be over. "It's the next phase that's already here, but we need code to catch up,” Longoria said.

The PAC has asked each council member to send them their opinion on the resolution in the next few months.

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