parking garage
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This is part 4 of a Sightline series on parking requirements. Read parts 1, 2, and 3.

If you live in an American city, chances are your bedroom is smaller than your car’s. Sound strange? Mandatory off-street parking quotas for apartment and condo buildings not only require the space your car sits in — they require aisles so your car can get in and out of the space. That adds up. One space eats up about 325 square feet.

These requirements written into local land-use laws have pernicious effects. At multifamily buildings, localities require developers to construct off-street parking spaces for each apartment or condominium. Many cities also require a side order of visitor parking. The requirements vary with unit size and sometimes with city zone, and they are rife with exemptions, exceptions, and complexities.

Architect and designer Seth Goodman of Graphing Parking shows how parking and living spaces compare in major cities across the U.S. (Goodman worked with Sightline on a Northwest edition. Click here to see the parking vs. living space comparison in the 27 most populous Northwest cities.)

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Click to embiggen.
Seth Goodman

Stay tuned for more on the mismatch between these rules and actual parking demand.