Less Parking, More Healthy Food

The other day, we looked at a supermarket in a densely populated part of New Haven that is unwelcoming to pedestrians. Today, courtesy of member blog The City Fix,
we’re taking another look at urban supermarket planning, specifically
the issue of how to get quality food markets built in underserved
neighborhoods (so-called food deserts) — where people often walk or
take transit to the store. They write about how cities like New York
and Washington, DC, can encourage supermarket construction by relaxing
onerous zoning requirements for parking spaces:

2698531404_a3dcb8f508_m.jpgShe doesn’t need a parking space. Photo by Ed Yourdon via Flickr.

The New York Times…mentioned
that one of the strategies New York City is using to attract more
supermarkets into food deserts is to change the city’s zoning laws that
would “free smaller supermarkets from having to
supply parking spaces.” Reducing or eliminating parking minimums for
new development is good urbanism.
But
if it can help provide affordable, accessible, and nutritious food to
low-income residents of the District — which is already a District goal — the planning commission has one more very good reason to wean us off of cars.

The District is taking steps to achieve this. Anita Hairston, the Chief of Staff of the Office of Planning, assures me by e-mail that:

–Any
commercial building (this would include supermarkets) located in the
central employment area of the city and is connected to a Metrorail
station can have their parking requirements reduced or eliminated.

–Any
commercial buildings that are less than 800 feet from a Metrorail
station can have their parking requirements reduced by one-quarter.

–Any
planned unit development project (regardless of location) can work with
staff in our office to propose potential reduction or elimination of
parking requirements.

Elsewhere around the network: The Complete Streets Blog shares its view on the Oberstar bill. We hear about a meaningful cash for clunkers program north of the border, via Sustainable Montréal (this one offers transit credit or money toward a new bike). And Active Transportation Alliance has the scoop on an iPhone bike app.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

European Parking Policies Leave New York Behind

|
Flashback to Europe, sixty years ago. Only still emerging from the ruin of total war, the continent was in the midst of a nearly unprecedented reconstruction. Over the next decade, however, industry finally was able to turn toward consumer products, from stockings to refrigerators and, of course, the automobile. Italians owned only 342,000 cars in […]

TransForm: TransForum: All About GreenTRIP

|
"How can we get developments built with less parking and more walkability? Learn how on April 20, when we’ll talk about these issues and ‘GreenTRIP’, TransForm’s new certification program. For too long, outdated parking codes, traffic policies, zoning, and misconceptions have held back the kind of development that improves communities and enhances mobility for everyone.  […]

Revamped Bike Parking Requirements Clear Final Hurdle at Board of Supes

|
A citywide overhaul of bicycle parking requirements for new development will be adopted after the Board of Supervisors approved the legislation unanimously on Tuesday. The ordinance will, by and large, increase bike parking requirements for new residential and commercial buildings, which have been put in place on a piecemeal basis since 1996. Planning Department staff […]