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Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States

No Parking

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The last post focused on creating an urban overlay district for the inner neighborhoods of St. Petersburg. The goal is to create zoning to encourage the development a true urban environment in these neighborhoods. One of the biggest issues will be parking. With all of these new housing units and businesses, where will people park? The ideal is that parking will not be needed, as residents will be able to walk most places. Also, less parking means more room for actual building space.

So how would this work? Within the overlay district will be different parking requirements. Developers would have the opportunity to completely eliminate parking or greatly reduce the parking they are required to provide by paying a mobility fee. This fee would be based on the cost of providing parking, road improvements and alternate forms of transportation. The fee would be less than the cost of parking to incentivize participation. For instance, to reduce parking by 100%, the fee would be 50% of the cost of building the parking. To reduce parking by 50%, the fee would be 75%of the cost of building the parking.

Where would the money go? The money collected would go into a local transportation trust fund. The money in this trust fund would be used for transportation initiatives within the district. One possibility is using the funds as leverage to build a streetcar system that residents could use to move throughout the overly district, and eventually throughout the entire city. The funds could also be used for such things as sidewalk installation and repair, bike lanes and road repaving. Developers would get a greater return on their investment by the ability to build more on their properties. The properties would have greater value from their greater use, increasing tax revenue to the city. The city would also get a new revenue stream for transportation improvements. And the city overall becomes more attractive as an urban environment. Sounds like a winner to me!

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