After having worked in the for-profit, non-profit, and government arenas, I have seen great progress, great ideas, and great mistakes. I believe that the parking ordinance change that has been presented to the Minneapolis City Council is a great idea, making progress in development of walkable, bikeable, safe, healthy communities.
But a proposed amendment to keep the Northside out of the change is a big mistake. This move to reduce parking requirements in multi-family development along transit corridors is a good idea–not just for portions of the City, but for the City as a whole.
North Minneapolis, particularly Camden, needs multi-family development. Being exempt from the parking ordinance–increasing development costs by hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars–will keep developers from considering Camden.
Multi-family housing is expensive and the additional costs of underground parking (building it and maintaining it) make developing much needed housing a challenge for any developer. The ordinance change will reduce the construction and maintenance costs. The truth is that unrealistic parking requirements add costs to development projects. Developments along transit corridors need less parking and currently the City allows for developers to request a variance to reduce parking. The proposed ordinance change will allow for multi-family development without variance requests.
Furthermore, the City’s population is shifting. Cars are not necessarily the highest priority for the next generation of renters and homeowners. Only 77% of young people are driving cars. To attract more young people into our neighborhoods, we, as a City, have made enormous investments in making our City more walkable and bikeable. With assistance from the Metropolitan Council we are working toward better transit options to alleviate the need for cars.
Creating housing opportunities along transit corridors will give residents more options for housing and more options to use alternative transportation modes. Let’s be very clear here: if we don’t create more multi-family housing options with greater density, increasing the population along our transit corridors, we will not get those improved transportation options.
Loss of population, loss of jobs, and loss of housing has created a community filled with great need and great potential! Currently there are no multi-family developments proposed for the Camden area of North Minneapolis. It has been years since the last project was completed. Pulling our community out of the ordinance change is short sighted-and unproductive. Those of us who live in Camden would like to have less pollution, more access to transit options, more housing options, and feel like we belong to the City of Minneapolis in general. Camden needs to be part of the City and part of the ordinance change!