Mexico City eliminates minimum parking requirements (bravo)

The largest city in North America has done away with one of the biggest hidden subsidies for driving: minimum parking requirements.

Mexico City eliminated requirements that force developers to build a minimum number of parking spaces in each project. The city will instead cap the number of parking spaces allowed in new development, depending on the type and size of the building. Existing parking spaces can also be converted to other uses.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Mancera signed the new regulations into effect last week.

The policy change applies to every land use and throughout the entire city of 8.8 million residents. It promises to make housing more affordable, reduce traffic, and improve air quality.

…The old rules mandated parking even though only about 30 percent of Mexico City residents own cars and the city has a well-developed subway system.

There are now parking maximums in place instead of minimums…

Within the central city, the new rules also require developers to pay a fee if they build more than 50 percent of the maximum parking allowed…

Revenues from the parking fee will be used to improve transit and subsidize housing.

Here is the story, via John Chamberlin.  Here is my earlier NYT column on this topic.


Better if all that revenue was shared out directly to all residents

"The city will instead cap the number of parking spaces allowed in new development"

Why bravo?

I also ask why bravo.

It is anti-car and pro public transit.

Concur. It is also anti-pollution (noise, air), anti-congestion, and in the long-term, pro-reuse of existing buildings (a lesser known, but important by-product of fixed rapid transit lines, e.g. rail). It will reduce the cost of infrastructure maintenance (roads). It will shift the cost of parking on to the consumer, where it belongs, as once there, the parking market will be responsive to real cost and profit. And the alternative means of transportation will be facing less of an artificial barrier to profits.

Will maximum parking requirements really result in any of those things? Just because there's no parking doesn't mean people are going to give up their cars. They might just spend more time driving around looking for a parking spot.

Of course it will work. Look at NYCity. Works fine. You don't want to own a car in NYCity it is so car unfriendly. And public transportation works great LOL. And the city streets are empty of cars/cabs and the cost of housing is so low people choose to live on the streets. Yeah! I think Mexico City is onto a good thing...

Its also pro-time wasting. And resuing existing buildings is not a net good (its not a net bad either), but *fixed rapid transit lines* are a net bad.

It won't reduce the cost of infrastructure maintenance.

Agammamon: time wasting? really? you can accomplish a LOT when you are being driven, rather than driving.

As to
Aegisthus commented
Agammamon: time wasting? really? you can accomplish a LOT when you are being driven, rather than driving.
such accomplishments as

maybe you can achieve a lot of work in a first class compartment or chauffeur driven limousine, such as those used by politicians who write these laws restricting cars and lawyers who enforce them.

Maybe autonomous cars are the answer, but not for the nonces who like to see people crushed together.

Should be a CRLF before "such" - "Aegisthus" did not include the link to the BBC, I did.

If I owned an apartment building near a subway stop I would enjoy the increased rent I could charge.

First, the cap is just a limit. If more parking is needed the developer pays a tax. Thus, big box stores are penalized.

Second, developers are OK with the new code. No one built more than the minimum, meaning the market did not demanded parking, it was the regulation that demanded parking.

Then why the cap?

In any case 3/4 bravo.

...and private developers would never dream of bribing Mexican government officials to circumvent any troublesome regulations

The cap *is* a limit. As the article says - once you get above 50% of the cap *then you start paying extra for each additional parking space up to the cap*.

Right. Just one cheer. Their justification is externalities.

"“The city will instead cap the number of parking spaces allowed in new development”"

Bravo! For authoritarians that like to use the power of government to force people to follow their dictates.

In practice in office blocks the parking will be reserved for management and housing blocks will switch from free-for-all parking to reserved spots, once again for those able to afford it. Funny how all those well-meaning plans always end up making life less accessible to hoi polloi.

Free for all parking? It's included on the housing price, either buy or rent prices.

I'm a cuck I'm a cuck I'm a really big cuck a cuck cuck cuck cuck CUCK I'm a cuck I'm a cuck I'm a really big cuck a cuck-o-doodle-dooo

Is this really the best thing you could be doing with your time?

There are now parking maximums in place instead of minimums…

Some people just can't handle the concept of leaving anything unregulated.

Parking deregulation would be best, but replacing bad regulation with less bad or even good regulation is also a win.

Are maximum parking requirements really "less bad" than minimum ones? I can see all sorts of reasons why they might both have equally bad perverse effects.

This if replacing bad regulation with worse regulation. This is going to inevitable result in a shortage of available parking spaces.

And the reason is even worse. This is the bureaucrats trying to force the hoi polloi off the streets. It's pretty much guaranteed that the rich and powerful, specifically including all of the politicians will keept their vehicles and parking spots.

And more people parking illegally in alleys and side streets. This is Mexico City we're talking about.
Seems to me this will work more as patronage to local police, as the bribes people will pay to get a parking spot will serve as a fresh source of revenue.
When you don't want to increase the budget for salaries ... just give the cops one more excuse to take bribes.

"Seems to me this will work more as patronage to local police, as the bribes people will pay to get a parking spot will serve as a fresh source of revenue."

+1 Good point

"Some people just can’t handle the concept of leaving anything unregulated."

.........yes, and here in U.S. they are primarily known as Democrats & Republicans

Makes sense if there are significant negative externalities to excess parking allocation. I'll defer to Donald Shoup on that question.

You guys are all a bunch of god-damn pearl clutchers.

I've dealt with an unnecessary (and expensive) parking spot minimum on a rental property.

I've also lived in an apartment where the streets are crowded with cars because the developer was too cheap to provide parking.

And tenants, when picking a home, undervalue parking spaces (and only realize it's a problem when they live there).

So it's unclear to me if this is a win or a loss.

Sounds like more whiney beta-cucking to me.

In the UK city and town centres are in decline and are shabby and decrepit. They are unwelcoming with "no parking" signs everywhere, and the official car parks are often full and always expensive. As a consequence many people shop on line or in out of town centres. The only town centre premises are banks, dental surgeons, opticians, lawyers, estate agents and so on. Again people are banking on line, and the illiterate now are moaning because branches are closing all over the country. Estate agency is already migrating to the internet, and the other professions will follow as practicable. Hospitals are centres of stress rather than centres of healing. Recently staff are being made to pay huge sums for parking, out of taxed income. Some are now being threatened with court judgements over unpaid parking that could lose them their homes.

City centre land is expensive. Why should using it for parking be subsidised? Nurses have to pay their own bus fares, out of taxed income. Why should their car parking be subsidised?

Do buses run when nurses need them to run? Or do you think nursing is a 9 to 5 m-f job?

I think nurses' pay already reflects anti-social hours. Why should we give a special subsidy to those that choose to drive to work? Sometimes public transit is available, and many could choose to cycle, run or walk to work. The British crusade for free hospital parking is just an emotive cry for regressive subsidies.

The car parking shouldn't be subsidized. But neither should the mass transit system.

Why not?

Mass transit reduces vehicle trips [almost always one person], congestion, pollution, noise, accidents and the need to widen roads, in order to further increase capacity

..for even more vehicles [almost always one person].

UPSHOT: a 'no brainer'

Mass transit riders can pay for their ride and the infrastructure to support it. Car riders can pay for their ride and the infrastructure to support it.

"In the UK city and town centres are in decline and are shabby and decrepit. The only town centre premises are banks, dental surgeons, opticians, lawyers, estate agents and so on."

That is simply not true.

Searching for parking costs Americans $73B annually:

30% of traffic in downtown LA is people looking for parking. This kind of passive-aggressive knee-jerk anti-car attitude is what I expect of San Francisco and not to be applauded. It leads to expensive boondoggles like the city spending $500M over the next 10 years on bike lanes (total cyclists in SF:14K) while claiming it can't pay out of the general fund the annual $73M required to maintain its crumbling roads, worst of any major metro in the nation (car ownership in SF: 230K).

More cuck pearl-clutching from the usual suspects.

Problem is under-charging for parking. Minimum parking requirements artificially increase supply and subsidise driving. I googled cycling in San Francisco and the real number is 82,000 bike trips per day, up 9% in a year:.

As bikes use public land much more efficiently than cars, it makes sense to accommodate them. They also have much lower externalities - they hardly ever kill people, and don't pollute.

they quite often kill the people riding them in mixed traffic

People spend time looking for things where there isn't a good market. So people keep on searching for "free" parking when the value of a parking space should be determined by price and demand. If the parking lot is full, it's because they aren't charging enough.

"If the parking lot is full, it’s because they aren’t charging enough."

This is caused by the locality problem. Parking spaces are only valuable in relation to how close they are to where the people using it want to be. However that demand is variable. The most obvious answer is dynamic pricing with online monitoring of space availability. But that requires more expertise than is standard in the industry today. Let's face it, the best and brightest aren't working in the pay lot industry.

That being said, automated cars that can park themselves a few miles away will probably eliminate this as a concern within the next couple of decades.

Cowen (at the link): "[I]f we’re going to wean ourselves away from excess use of fossil fuels, we need to remove current subsidies to energy-unfriendly ways of life." Why is Europe less dependent on the energy-unfriendly automobile? Could it be that Europe has little in the way of fossil fuels and, hence, must import most of them? Could it be that America, by contrast, has a large domestic supply of fossil fuels? Europe gets high speed rail, America gets highway gridlock. Then there's China. Although a large producer of fossil fuels, China became an oil importer in the 1990s. While China continues to rely on fossil fuels for electricity, China increasingly relies on more energy-friendly forms of transportation. America's reliance on fossil fuels and an energy-unfriendly way of life contributes to an increasing inequality, in this case an inequality in transportation, as the elite travel in high speed private aircraft, the rest of us travel in unfriendly skies and low-speed automobiles. We've been at the mercy of the fossil fuels industry for 150 years. The more things change, the more they stay the same. What we could use is some disruption in energy-unfriendly ways of life.

Thanks to Republican policies, the US stopped producing all the oil it burns because paying US workers costs too much. Republican policies are cut labor costs by any means.

Obama promoted paying US workers by increasing energy costs and paying lots more US workers doubled the daily oil production. And it was done by paying private landowners, ordinary people, something opposed by Republicans because when energy is not controlled by a conservative elite, too much is produced which eliminates all monopoly profits.

Trump is turning the clock back, or trying to, monopoly control of energy by a conservative elite. Trump does not want offshore drilling on the east coast, but he wants that as a threat which will cut off funding drilling on private land in the interior. Imagine a drilling rig in sight of Mar a Lago - Trump would go nuts fighting that.

Fuck u Tyler. You hate cars because you are a little pussy academic

My truck is bigger than your truck. So is my hammer. (And my fleet of carbon road bikes.)

Wow, there's a lot of Freudian euphemisms in that comment. ;)

This sounds like one of those "average is over" things. This will be one aspect of how nice it is to be rich, rich enough to pay for the more expensive parking, and now with less traffic congestion generated by those who were well enough off to operate a vehicle but won't be with capped parking.


Construction workers, factory workers, contractors, painters, plumbers, electricians, they can all take the subway to work!! Brilliant !!! We'll save so much Mother Earth by making them commute by rail. Or, they can cycle.

How they get the stuff they need to do their job to the job site, you ask? I'm sure there's an app for that.

Actually, removing minimum parking requirements helps the poor. They can't afford cars and are priced out of homes built with parking that they don't need. See a discussion of these effects on affordable housing construction here:

Actually, this was a response to John Mansfield above.

Right, the 70% of Mexico City residents without cars won't be hurt by a parking cap, at least not directly, and may get some benefit from it. And the rich won't be hurt and may benefit from fewer cars. But the middle-class portion of the 30% with cars will step down to being part of the lower-class without cars.

Do any of you anti-car types really use mass transit? Here in Sacramento, I have a bus line that ends right across the street. Still, to go to my doctors office via the bus is 1.5 hours each way, with two changes. To drive there is 20 minutes.

Mass transit is for poor people who are forced to waste hours of time each day on buses.

The idea that mass transit is more ecological is also flawed. Although the miles/gallon/passenger may be less that a combustion engined car, the hapless passenger often has to travel many more miles to get from A to B than he would if driving. The solution isn't dictating to people how they travel, but encouraging electric cars with regenerative braking. Also for the professions to minimise visits to the office. Often they demand several appointments to suit their convenience, whereas from the patient's point of view the matter could be resolved in one.

Each of your points are irrelevant or bullshit.

Depends on the city. In denser European cities it's the norm. Almost no one drives to work in London.

There are places besides work that people go if they have cars. It often seems that if you scratch descriptions of European transit, a big element of it is an acceptance of staying home if you can't walk.

So who the fuck wants to live in London, asshole? I love my car, I loathe public transit, and dipshits like you hate me for what I love, and seek to punish me and get me out of my car. Fuck you. Cars are fabulous inventions where you get to be alone for a little while in your daily life, have a little luxury, and maybe a blow job from your passenger. Subways don't give me that. And I'll bet you money you have a car, too, and wouldn't dream of taking public transit anywhere.

Ha ha, spoken like the middle class! Here in the yay area, I take Caltrain every day and it turns out it's almost exclusively for the rich.

To use Caltrain, you need to (a) choose a place to live near a station, (b) choose a place to work near a station, and (c) yes, you need health insurance that affords you choice of a doctor near a station. On the train, I can do things like work or post earth-shaking comments on blogs. Driving is for poor people whose time is so worthless that it can be wasted sitting in traffic doing nothing.

It's actually really tragic. If there were no parking minimums in SF, housing would be cheaper and poor people might be able to live within commute distance of the train.

There are no parking minimums in SF, only a 70% parking maximum. In practice, that means parking is denied to the BMR (below market rate) units mandated by the city, anywhere from 20% to 50% of units.

I drive to work because that saves me an hour per day. Working in Muni is impossible because of how crowded it is, unlike Caltrain. Increasingly, the solution people adopt is Uber or Lyft.

What's your source on the supposed nonexistence of parking minimums? I was hoping you were right but a quick Google showed that SF still had minimum parking requirements in August 2016: Granted that's a huge list of piecemeal exceptions to the minimum there.

"yes, you need health insurance that affords you choice of a doctor near a station."

How often are you going to a doctor that it needs to be near a station?

"There are now parking maximums in place instead of minimums…
Within the central city, the new rules also require developers to pay a fee if they build more than 50 percent of the maximum parking allowed…"

I'd be willing to be that just removing the minimums and letting the market sort it out was never even considered. Because, shock of shocks, some developments might not feel the need for much parking, some might feel the need for a lot.

But we can't let people decide what their own needs are - we've got to protect our phoney-balogne jobs gentlemen!

Made-up exam question:

In City XYZ builders are required to provide each housing unit with a minimum of one full bathroom. As Mayor you have the authority (I said this was made up) to eliminate this requirement. If you strike the one-bathroom minimum, other arrangements, such as common bathrooms in apartments, are permitted though not required. What is your decision? Explain.

I have a suggestion to go beyond some of the trollish name-calling here, and think more like economists: in places crowded enough to have a serious problem with stored-car externalities, use the urban Japanese system.

It's very simple. In order to register a car, you must show that you have a place to store it. No parking minimums or maximums required. No need for a bureaucrat to magically divine the optimum numbers for such constraints, a process which always goes badly anyhow.

So some people install car elevators in their driveways. Meanwhile, some street parking remains, so residents can receive visitors even if said visitors aren't up to the rigors of the subways or buses, or aren't endowed with the vast amounts of spare time needed to use them. Businesses can survive, even if they sell stuff that's impractical to carry on a jammed, SRO bus. In the event of, say, construction, residents who lose access to their private parking for the nonce can be issued temporary street permits, which will actually be usable if the streets aren't 100% full with stored cars.

Seems like a winner to me.

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