Elimination of Parking Minimums

Elimination of Parking Minimums

Elimination of off-street parking minimums to promote citywide development, density, and the use of alternative transportation modes
Geography

Citywide

Sponsoring Institution
City of Buffalo, New York
Key Milestones
2008
Buffalo becomes the first city in the state of New York to adopt a complete streets policy.
2010
The city initiates planning for a form-based code, which regulates physical form rather than focusing on the separation of uses, which is typical of more conventional zoning regulation.
2017
The city formally adopts a form-based code, which includes the elimination of parking minimums.
Financial Implications
  • Project stakeholders anticipate the policy will result in an increased frequency of development and public revenue as a consequence of reducing overall construction costs.

Select Initiative Goals

  1. Encourage general development citywide by removing a common cost barrier
  2. Increase density and pedestrian scale of future development
  3. Increase property tax revenue
  4. Promote alternative transportation modes
Implementation: Initiative Design
  • The citywide policy was adopted in 2017 as part of the form-based code popularly known as the Buffalo Green Code. Officially called the Unified Development Ordinance, it was the first comprehensive revision to the building and zoning framework for the city since 1953.
  • Instead of a fixed formula for determining a required number of spaces by use type and size, Buffalo now requires a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan for development projects greater than 5,000 square feet. This allows developers of large projects to build less parking if the project will benefit from other transportation modes, like mass transit.
  • Residential and commercial developments of less than 5,000 square feet are not required to include any parking. 
Key Innovations

Buffalo is the first major U.S. city to eliminate off-street parking minimums citywide, and it is the third to adopt a form-based code. The intensive, multi-year public engagement process included more than 230 public meetings.

Staffing and/or CapacityThis policy was the result of a major civic initiative reflecting substantial investments from the mayor, local elected leaders, and myriad civic partners over a six-year period.

Strategies Utilized

See also
Akron, OH

Promoting economic and urban development in neighborhood business districts through comprehensive corridor planning, incentive programs, and public management reforms

Cleveland, OH

A technical assistance and low-interest financing program that helps homeowners improve and maintain the physical and economic value of older homes

Rochester, NY

Supporting long-term residency by providing free architectural designs for owner-occupants seeking to add a half-bathroom to the ground floor of single-bathroom homes

More Resources
Preservation Rightsizing Network et al., 2015
American Planning Association, 2018
Aaron Renn, 2018

Join Our Mailing List

Back to top