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Pittsburgh Officials Propose Dropping Parking Requirements For Some New Construction

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
The mayor's office says the change would preserve the character of dense neighborhoods such as the South Side.

The City of Pittsburgh wants to change a rule that requires rowhouses to provide off-street parking spaces. Legislation proposed by Mayor Bill Peduto’s office would drop the requirement from one spot to zero.

The current mandate can add significant cost to a project because developers have to pour parking pads or build garages, which means a curb cut has to be made in the sidewalk wherever a car will pull out. That interrupts the sidewalks for people in wheelchairs or with strollers, and also comes at the cost of an on-street parking space existing residents rely on, said Andrew Dash, acting director of the Department of City Planning.

“If those are removed for the installation of a driveway, it eliminates their opportunity to park in their neighborhood,” he said.

Typically, the new garages are built at the front of the house at street level. To remove the parking requirement supports the design of city neighborhoods, said Dash.

“Our neighborhoods do really have an experience at the sidewalk level from our historic rowhomes, we want to be able to preserve and protect that,” he said.

In a press release, Peduto said the change will “help residents get to know their city and their neighbors, by foot.” It also aligns with the city’s goals to increase the use of public transit to reduce climate emissions.

The legislation would only apply to new rowhouses, and it is the only parking requirement the city seeks to change at this time, said Dash.

“There is a lot of opportunity to revise some of the remaining of the city’s parking requirements,” he said. “I think we would be looking to do a larger public process with some of those larger changes.”

A reduction in parking minimums is one way cities across the country have reduced the cost of new construction, which can help increase production of affordable housing.