Phoenix looks into potentially reducing number of parking spaces at apartment complexes

Apartments near a light rail stop would have zero parking spaces under this proposal.
Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 9:43 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Parking spaces can be a hot commodity, and there could soon be fewer of them at some Phoenix apartment complexes.

A proposed city law would reduce minimum parking requirements and leave some apartment complexes with potentially no parking spaces. “Dang, where are the people going to park?” Phoenix resident James Hunter asked.

Hunter thinks it’s already hard enough to find parking in the city. “It’s assigned parking, and then when you go and visit someone, there’s like one or two open spots where you can park at,” he said.

But if the city approves a new parking law, there could be even fewer spots. Current Phoenix law requires a minimum of 150 parking spaces for every 100 one or two-bedroom apartments. That number would decrease to 125 spaces under the new legislation. That decrease gets magnified for affordable apartment complexes near light rail stations, where the minimum requirement would go from 50 parking spaces per one hundred units to zero (with some possible exceptions.)

“Phoenix in no way has adequate light rail,” resident Louis Lagrave said. “We have a square mileage of 517 miles. The light rail barely covers that.” That’s one of the reasons Lagrave and his Desert Ridge Planning Committee group voted against this new parking law.

But other Phoenix communities, like the Encanto Village Planning Committee, disagree. “This tax amendment brings it down more to a realistic level that meets demand where we don’t have a plethora of empty spaces at these multi-family units,” Encanto Village Planning Committee member Nicole Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez believes decreasing the amount of parking also could lead to lower monthly rental payments. “Parking is expensive,” she said. “Parking is one of the biggest contributors to the cost of housing, the cost to build housing.”

As Leon Robinson prepared to hop aboard Valley Metro, he was hopeful that this proposed law might lead more to do the same. “You’ve got to pay the cost to be the boss,” Robinson said. “If you want to stay on the light rail and stay right next to it, you’ve got to take the light rail. So I’m for it.”

So far, the majority of the Phoenix neighborhood planning committees have been against reducing the minimum amount of parking spaces. The city planning commission will share its findings at the beginning of August, with the plan being for the city council to vote on it sometime in September.

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