Mexico City replaced its parking minimums with maximums
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Brief summary of this reform
Mexico City previously had parking minimums set at high levels. In 2017, it abolished all of its minimum parking requirements and replaced them with parking maximums. In addition, in central areas and near good public transport, a fee is charged on developers for every parking space built between 50% and 100% of the new maximums. This provides an incentive to build less parking than the maximum that is allowed.
Why should you care?
Parking change-makers in many cities have much to learn from the successful campaign waged in Mexico City to achieve this reform.
Also noteworthy is the inclusion in the reform of a new fee on developers parking provision between 50% and 100% of the maximum. This seems to combine well with the rather permissive maximums. It has the attraction for the city government of creating a new stream of revenue as part of the reform.
The campaign also very successfully reframed the issue: that off-street parking is not a way to mitigate on-street parking problems but is actually a CAUSE of problems that need to be mitigated.
Key actor type
mode shift or TDM
Is it a model or a warning?
Main parking category
Main parking paradigm shift
maximums or caps (including minimums switched to maximums)
Promotes all three Adaptive Parking paradigm shifts
Adaptive Parking thrust
R: Relax about parking supply and stop boosting it
Goals of the reform
To reform aimed to alleviate the large oversupply of parking that was previously being built and to open the possibility of new development with much less on-site parking.
Impetus (what problem, campaign, opportunity or event prompted action?)
A ten-year campaign by a coalition of actors, among which ITDP Mexico was prominent, raised awareness of how much parking was being built with every new building, how excessive this parking supply way, and of the negative impacts of this and the lost opportunities.
The ITDP 'Less parking, more city' report also found that most developments provided as close to the minimum as possible, suggesting that developers want to provide less parking than they are required to.
'Less parking, more city' was also an effective slogan.
The campaign successfully reframed the issue: that off-street parking is not a way to mitigate on-street parking problems but is actually a cause of problems that need to be mitigated.
Detailed description of the reform
Mexico City previously had parking minimums set at high levels. For example, apartments were required to provide between 1 and 3.5 parking spaces per unit (depending on unit size). Shopping malls were required to provide one space for every 40 square metres of floor space.
In 2017, it abolished all of its minimum parking requirements and replaced them with parking maximums.
Existing parking spaces can now be converted to other uses if building owners wish.
These new maximums are often at similar rates as the old minimums and are not very restrictive on how much parking can be built. For example, all housing now has a maximum of 3 spaces per unit. Malls now have a maximum of 1 parking space per 25 square metres.
In addition, in central areas and near good public transport, a fee is charged on developers for every parking space built between 50% and 100% of the new maximums. This presents developers with an incentive to build less parking than the maximum that is allowed. It also provides a new stream of revenue to be used for improvements to public transport.
Results or impacts
It is too soon to evaluate the results. Anecdotally, various buildings are now going up with much less parking than would have been required before the reform.
Sources and acknowledgements
Rodrigo Garcia Resendiz and Andres Sañudo Gavaldon (2018) Chapter 15. Less Off-Street Parking, More Mexico City, in Shoup, D. (ed.). Parking and the City. New York: Routledge.
ITDP "How Mexico City Became a Leader in Parking Reform"
Reinventing Parking "How Mexico City Lost its Parking Minimums"
Angie Schmitt 2017 "It’s Official: Mexico City Eliminates Mandatory Parking Minimums" Streetsblog USA,
ITDP Mexico, 2014. "Less Parking, More City",
16 Mar 2021