We can see the same trend in major cities across the country, less parking and higher rates. Minneapolis is no exception. City officials have been holding back on parking construction but they have been investing in new bicycle lanes and reducing parking requirements for new apartment buildings. Over the past few years 2,400 parking spots have been lost and not replaced. In fact, many cities have relaxed their parking requirements for new developments. Why are they doing this? “It’s part of an effort to discourage driving and devote available land to other uses.”
Many cities are embracing ride-sharing programs and expanding their public transit in hopes of helping people change their habits. “It isn’t just an issue of getting people out of cars,” said Donald Shoup, an urban planning professor who studies parking at the University of California, Los Angeles. “I think it’s getting better cities, and more affordable cities, and more walkable cities with air that’s safe to breathe.” With a high demand and low supply, there is no question about what direction the price of parking will go. “I’ve lived in the Twin Cities all my life, so I’m very happy to see this development taking place,” said Jim Commers, Impark’s director of business development. “But if the parking capacity isn’t replaced … then it will have an impact on prices, and that’s exactly what we’ve been seeing.”
One Minneapolis driver shares his concern. In the past two years his monthly parking rate has been raised twice. He currently pays $1500.00 per year for downtown parking. He isn’t going to change his driving habits either. Bussing downtown will take just as much time and with small children, public transit just isn’t an option for him. Joe Tamburino, chair of the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, said he hears frequent complaints about parking. “There’s a whole contingent out there politically, they think Minneapolis is going to become a place without cars. And that’s a pipe dream,” he said. “People will always need cars. It’s just the way it is.” People will always need cars and they will always need a place to park their car. Many drivers will pay the necessary costs to keep driving and parking their own vehicle.