ITDP has been working to reform parking policies worldwide for over a decade as a way to shift cities toward sustainable transport. In July 2017, Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera announced changes in the construction code that would curtail the development of further off-street parking development. The new norm changes minimum parking requirements to maximums and puts Mexico City, the largest city in North America, far ahead of other cities in its commitment to prioritizing people over cars.
This major policy change is a result of ITDP Mexico’s advocacy over the last 10 years, when the team began working with government agencies to develop alternatives to the private car, as well as mechanisms to reduce its use. With the support of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (SEDUVI), the research study “Less Parking, More City,” provided enough evidence to show unsustainable trends of constructing buildings to allocate cars, ultimately sending people to live in the periphery.
ITDP Mexico, fostering projects and policies on travel demand management, finds that outdated parking regulations have an outsized impact on the city, while the potential of parking reform policies is overlooked. ITDP begins looking at problems and solutions to on-street parking management in the Condesa and Polanco neighborhoods.
ITDP also presents a vision and plan to the city to expand cycling infrastructure, implement more BRT (bus rapid transit) corridors and reduce driving to tackle the crippling traffic congestion and air quality issues in Mexico City.
ITDP conducts additional studies about “curb use” in the central areas of Mexico City, showing the inequality and inefficiency caused by current regulations around parking.
ITDP releases the report “U.S. Parking Policies: An Overview of Management Strategies” to show how other North American cities with a high number of driving trips are coping.
ITDP founder Michael Replogle conducts a travel demand management training course with decision-makers that focuses on parking management.
Mexico City launches EcoBici, the city’s first public bike share system, and communicates to the public that it is a solution to combat notorious air pollution issues.
By better managing the streets and with Mayor Ebrard’s Green Plan, Mexico City hopes to eliminate the franeleros phenomenon, informal “valets” who charge drivers in exchange for a “secure” parking space, and often use the sidewalk for parked cars.
ITDP publishes “Europe’s Parking U-Turn: From Accommodation to Regulation” which spotlights best practices in parking reform and accelerates ambitions to make difficult decisions about street space management, including improvements to walking and cycling facilities.
The paid on-street parking meter program called ecoParq is piloted in the Polanco neighborhood with 426 meters regulating 6,000 curbside spaces where parking had previously been free. Polanco has a high concentration of both car trips and mass transit options. The revenue from the parking fees are reinvested in sidewalk and pedestrian infrastructure improvements in the immediate neighborhood.
After witnessing the reduced traffic and improved streetscape, neighborhoods nearby clamor for the program to expand.
The success of ecoParq proves that parking is a demand management problem. ITDP releases a report analyzing the effectiveness of the ecoParq program in Polanco. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (SEDUVI) supports ITDP in an analysis of over 250 big real estate projects between 2009 and 2013. Results show more than 250,000 parking spaces were constructed at an estimated cost equivalent to building 12 lines of Metrobús BRT that could instead move more than two million daily commuters.
Mexico City wins the Sustainable Transport Award and Mayor Ebrard attends the award ceremony in Washington DC.
The report shows that over 40% of floor area in Mexico City buildings are dedicated parking spaces, higher than any other land use including housing. Less Parking, More City brings together numerous agencies and diverse actors such as real estate developers, shifts the local conversation about the value of so much parking space given other needs in the city. Mexico City gets inspired by the sweeping off-street parking reform in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The proposal challenges the basic premise of the parking law, demonstrating that parking is a congestion generator, not a mitigator. ITDP shows that the law requires more parking than the market demands. This increases the costs of housing, and leads to other negative social, economic and environmental impacts with regards to new developments in Mexico City. ITDP argues for a total change in direction in the current parking law and promotes a new norm.
In collaboration with the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) and with the support of strategic allies, the competition brings together the private sector, civil society organizations, and a multidisciplinary jury of prestigious members: architects, urban planners, economists and public policy experts. ITDP leverages the contest to start a public conversation about the best uses of city space. Winning projects included repurposing parking garages to educational and cultural center focused on visual arts, and a mixed-use space with housing, co-working and recreational facilities.
Mayor Mancera announces the need to reform the current off-street parking norms as part of his mobility and development strategy for a more people-centered city. The new norms are adopted into law in July and a trust fund is proposed to collect impact fees for each parking space built in a development above the newly set regulatory maximum up to an absolute ceiling. A new mobility law is passed following the devolution of national power to the City that gives walking, cycling and public transit highest priority.
Real estate developers, who strongly supported parking reform, begin to adapt their plans for more efficient, people-centered developments. Implementation is ongoing, with a commitment to using newly-generated revenues to fund sustainable transport.
ITDP estimates the parking reforms will result in 11,000 to 17,000 private cars removed from the roads each year from 2017-2030.
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