On Tuesday, July 13th, the New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC) will vote to either approve or oppose the establishment of a new overlay district, the University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay, that would require all new construction and housing rehabilitations to secure one parking spot for every additional bedroom near Tulane University.
The current iteration of the University Area Interim Off-Street Zoning District is set to expire on September, 17th, but the City Council is pushing to expand and make permanent these parking regulations for new development in the entirety of District A. Despite the CPC’s previous objection to the original motion, as outlined in the University Parking Area Study, the City Council approved the motion to over the concern of dense student housing developments in their neighborhood, dubbed “Doubles-to-Dorms.”
Bike Easy is opposed to this misguided effort to create new parking requirements to solve housing concerns. City leaders must find a way to protect local residents without exacerbating the region’s existing housing and sustainability crises.
>> Sign this petition from our partners in the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition – Ride New Orleans and Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance
Why is this proposal bad?
The proposal would be a major obstacle in creating affordable housing.
- The proposed amendment would functionally impose the highest off-street parking requirements in the City’s history to Uptown and Carrollton residential areas. The new requirements would be among the highest in the United States.
- The proposal would have immediate, devastating impacts on efforts to create more affordable housing uptown, by drastically increasing the cost of new housing construction in the area of the proposed overlay.
Long-term impacts on affordable housing will be even worse. Many uptown homes are built on very narrow lots which cannot physically accommodate new parking spaces. Requiring increased off-street parking will likely result in demolition of existing homes to provide room for off-street parking spaces.
The proposal would harm access to mobility options and the environment.
- Over time, the proposed overlay will have significant, negative impacts on walking, biking, transit, ADA accessibility and urban form. These include:
- Public transit and the environment: off-street parking requirements function as a massive, hidden subsidy for car ownership by requiring developers and homeowners to pay for car storage space. This externalizes driving costs, by requiring everyone to pay for parking whether or not they drive. This incentivizes car travel, reduces demand for transit (and other transportation alternatives), and increases auto emissions, contributing to climate change.
- Tree cover and stormwater management: in the long term, the proposed overlay will result in the need to remove a significant number of trees to add new driveways and off-street parking lots. These impermeable surfaces will reduce space available for green infrastructure and result in additional stormwater runoff.
Walking and biking safety, and ADA accessibility: new curb cuts to add driveways will create many new potential conflict points between cars, pedestrians and bikes. These curb cuts will also make sidewalks more difficult to navigate for persons with disabilities.
“The staff believes that the proposed increase in parking requirements would have harmful effects in the affected neighborhoods that will eventually ripple throughout the City. The proposed amendment would drastically increase the parking requirement in the applicable area, which would have several negative impacts including eliminating housing opportunities for certain households, increasing housing demand and costs, encouraging out-of-scale, suburban-style residential development that prioritizes the automobile, increasing the amount of impervious surfaces and stormwater runoff, exacerbating displacement, discriminating against renters and creating an unsustainable precedent.”
Please take a moment to voice your opposition by emailing the City Planning Commission – CPCINFO@nola.gov or by calling or emailing your Councilmember-
Specifically reference ZD 044/21), referencing points above.
Emphasize the negative citywide impacts on affordable housing and making room for transportation options other than car ownership.
Speak against setting a precedent at the Council for similar proposals in other neighborhoods.
Council Member at Large Helena Moreno: 504-658-1060, Helena.moreno@
Council Member at Large Donna Glapion: 504-658-1070, firstname.lastname@example.org
District A Joe Giarrusso: 504-658-1010, Joseph.
District B Jay Banks: 504-658-1020, Jay.H.Banks@
District C Kristin Palmer: 504.658-1030, Kristin.Palmer@
District D Jared Brossett: 504-658-1040, jcbrossett@nola.
District E Cyndi Nguyen: 504-658-1050, Cyndi.Nguyen@
Encourage the City leaders to continue to look at options for reducing or eliminating parking minimums in District A and other parts of the City to support complete, accessible streets and affordable housing so we can move forward to a better, more equitable New Orleans.