In my last post I argued that it’s bad policy to tie eliminating parking requirements to demands for developers to provide more transportation demand management, affordable housing, or “green” upgrades. But what about allowing a reduction in required parking if the developer provides publicly accessible EV charging stations?
Oregon House Bill 3045 would allow developers to swap any two required commercial or residential parking stalls for one stall with a publicly accessible electric vehicle charger. Is this a policy Shoupistas should support and, if it passes, try to replicate?
One the plus side, this is a statewide bill and would allow for a sweeping reduction in the absolute number of stalls required at most locations. Many cities are reducing or creating avenues for reducing parking requirements and bills like HB3045 would amplify those efforts. Swapping EV stations for additional parking could be a major cost saver, too. Commercial EV stations run about $5,000 each, while a structured stall in Portland seems to run upwards of $50,000 nowadays.
The requirement that stations be publicly accessible, however, would blunt the potential upside of the bill. Surface stalls, which are most likely to be publicly accessible, are significantly cheaper than structured parking. Structured residential stalls, like those commonly found in residential apartments, are unlikely to be publicly accessible. In fact, many municipalities require exclusive use for stalls to meet parking requirements, so an effective policy would need to also legalize the sharing of parking between multiple uses (like office and residential). It’s also unclear if publicly accessible is intended to also mean “free.”
Combined with legalizing (or even requiring) shared parking, a bill like this could incentivize developers and property mangers to open up their parking spaces to public use, for a price.
It would be a better policy to eliminate all minimum requirements and provide other incentives for providing publicly accessible charging stations. I don’t think this is a bad policy, but I don’t know if I’d put it on my list of suggestions.