Assembly Eliminates Parking Minimums



At the November 22 Assembly meeting, the Anchorage Assembly unanimously voted to eliminate parking minimum requirements in all areas of the municipality and add requirements for bicycle parking through the adoption of AO 2022-80(S), As Amended, sponsored by Assembly Members Daniel Volland, Kevin Cross and Forrest Dunbar.

“Surface parking lots have become a large portion of our city's total land area as the city's footprint continues to grow, leaving more of our land covered in asphalt without a benefit to our community," said Assembly Member Daniel Volland. “These changes will reduce barriers for housing development, preserve green spaces and support cyclists and pedestrians."

The approved version of the ordinance makes the following changes to Title 21 in the Anchorage municipal code that addresses parking and site access:

  • Eliminates parking minimum requirements citywide –as a result, Title 21 will no longer require developments in the Municipality to provide a minimum number of off-street parking spaces and developers will decide how many parking spaces to include on each site
  • Increases accessible spaces (ADA parking) ratios when parking is provided
  • Creates requirements for bicycle parking
  • Establishes a menu of alternative transportation amenities that developers can choose from for larger developments

Assembly Member Kevin Cross said, “off-street parking minimums and driveway access standards are often the costliest and most land-consuming zoning requirements for multi-unit housing, mixed-use, and business developments. This ordinance will not take away our existing parking, but will help our community plan smarter, more affordable housing and commercial developments in the future."

When crafting the ordinance, the sponsors set the following goals: 

  • Make it more affordable to build housing and commercial development in Anchorage
  • Give designers and developers increased flexibility
  • Simplify proposed changes to Title 21
  • Encourage adaptive re-use of vacant properties
  • Prioritize the creation of connected public spaces over empty swaths of pavement
  • Help accommodate non-motorized, multimodal travel

“While a number of other cities have eliminated parking minimum requirements, including winter cities like Edmonton, Minneapolis and Toronto, Anchorage is unique in pairing bicycle parking requirements with parking minimums," added Assembly Member Forrest Dunbar. “This is the result of a collaborative process involving municipal planning department staff, community members, business owners, partner organizations and the Assembly. Our community can accomplish great things when we come together like this."

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