From parking minimums to maximums

Toronto is finally considering an end to minimum parking requirements established in the Zoning By-law. In their place, Planning staff are reviewing the desirability of establishing parking maximums.

At the risk of making the perfect the enemy of the good, it is very on-brand for the City’s Planning department to move from parking minimums to maximums without pausing at “this doesn’t need to be prescribed”.

I’ve noticed a deep anti-market bias among most planners that discounts the value of price signals and feedback loops in the process of efficient resource allocation. It’s a perspective that has mostly been abandoned in the late 80s in (as far as I can tell) all domains but this one, urban planning.

Alain Bertaud put it best in a podcast episode with Tyler Cowen: “Planners think in terms of norms and what they think people need. Economists think in terms of prices and the information they convey.”