I think minimum parking requirements are bad policy. If I had my way, the City would abolish its minimum parking requirements tomorrow.
But it's worth reminding oneself every now and then that the regulations on the books -- even the bad ones -- don't always matter. Minimum parking requirements don't matter when the market demands (or, at least, the developer perceives the market to demand) more than the minimum.
Greystar's proposed mixed-use project at 1200 S. Lamar (the South Alamo drafthouse site) is a case in point. According to the parking calculations on the site plan, the project will provide almost 60% more parking than code requires.
I'm sure this demand for parking is being driven by the Alamo Drafthouse. Anyone who's been to the South Lamar Alamo -- or tried to get take out from Suzi's China Kitchen -- on a Saturday night knows that the Alamo gobbles up parking.
There is good evidence that parking regulations do matter in general. They can matter a great deal in specific instances. How much extra space do we reserve for empty asphalt thanks to city regulation? We don't know and we can't know unless the city gets rid of its minimums. But it's important not to be seduced into believing that every massive parking garage or expansive surface lot is a manifestation of bad city regulation.