Does Less Parking Space Mean More Incentive to Walk?

In late February, according to KSTP, Minneapolis had already received 57 inches of snow. Because of this, for the last month, Minneapolis has enforced a city wide ban on even side parking for all non-emergency snow routes, in addition to the narrow streets of  Bryant Avenue between Lake Street to 50th Street, and Grand Avenue from Lake Street to 48th Street. Looking down my street at the back to back car packed lane, a curious thought flew in my mind: Did this restriction in parking promote reduced use of the automobile? Or at the very least encourage car pooling?

When I was younger , I once watched a documentary in school about a progressive transportation planning movement in Central America. In the documentary, a city official was being interviewed, and after being asked about the rising traffic concern in his city, he said the solution to reducing traffic is not to increase automobile lanes, or parking space, but rather take it away. At the very basic level, taking away certain transportation modes will force residents to seek other options.

Mutli-Use Transportation along Implemented Light Rail

 A prime example of decreasing both automobile lanes and parking space would be along the Minneapolis-St Paul Central Corridor. As mentioned in a previous blog post through Global Site Plans, What About the Businesses? Impacts of the Twin Cities Light Rail, the central corridor will displace 87% of parking space for commercial space. Although this number may seem disgruntling to businesses, who currently rely on automobile centered customers, the city’s predicted 40,000 weekday boardings by 2030, sheds a light of positive impact this project, and other similar transportation mode-changing projects can have.  

How does eliminating the option of parking alter transportation modes?

How do we effectively decrease automobile infrastructure while allowing residents accessible and efficient transportation options?


Images by Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. Data Linked to Sources. 

Abbey Seitz

About Abbey Seitz

Abbey Seitz, Minnesota native, is a professional urban and regional planner based in Honolulu. Her experience in planning and community organizing in Hawai’i has played a distinct role in her writing, leading her to question why and how places, cities, and regions came to be as they are. She recently released her first book, Perseverance Flooded the Streets.