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Technology Could Reduce the Need for Parking

Apartment Parking Lot trend

Digested from National Real Estate Investor

With ride-sharing, walkable neighborhoods, and eventually self-driving cars all reducing the need for parking, some cities are easing requirements. But residents are not yet giving up their cars.

Parking is a doubled-edged sword for many apartment developers. Residents list it as an important amenity, but it is costly.

“If developers build too much parking, the empty spaces may be difficult to repurpose for any other use,” writes National Real Estate Investor’s Bendix Anderson. “In dense urban areas, parking often needs to be stacked in concrete parking or underground structures that may be expensive or impossible to demolish.”

Developers often plead with local officials to reduce parking requirements. In places such as New York, which has developments under construction with few or no parking spaces, and Oakland, Calif., it is working.

In many urban areas, local officials have placed a premium on walkability. Additionally, ride-sharing services, such as Lyft and Uber, have become popular and reduced the need for cars. In the future, self-driving cars, which would presumably park more efficiently and save space, should also reduce the need for parking.

“Developers are creating other transit options for their residents by welcoming car-sharing companies like Uber,” Anderson writes. “Some apartment developers are creating designated Uber drop-off and pickup areas close to the lobbies of their apartment communities where residents can wait for vehicles from car sharing services to arrive.”

But this movement to fewer parking spaces is far from universal, writes Alex Enchin for Multifamily Insiders.

“People are still driving; people still need to park their vehicles, but still, it means that many spaces probably go unused most of the time,” Enchin writes. “And even if people aren’t necessarily driving themselves around in a personal vehicle, they are still traveling by car. Those ride-sharing vehicles need to go somewhere when the owners aren’t driving. And self-driving cars won’t be out and about on the roads 24/7 either.”

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