parking mandates are a regressive subsidy. The 16 percent of Seattle households with no car are a disproportionately low-income slice of the city’s population.
Let’s expand on that a bit. I think it’s fairly clear that the main beneficiaries of parking minimums are those with more vehicles, which would tend to be citizens with a higher income. On the other side of the equation, who do these minimums harm? I would group the carless as either urban types that don’t care to drive, the elderly or disabled that can’t drive, or the poor that can’t afford to drive. Yet these groups are currently being forced to pay higher rents, to make sure if they do ever buy a car they will be less likely to use up “free” street parking.
- From the 2000 census, 28.2% of those 65 or older in Seattle have no access to a vehicle.
- In 2009, 62.3% of Seattle workers earning $75k or more a year drove alone to work, compared to 44.1% of workers under the poverty line.
Update – one more number:
Looking at the 2000 census data and just our Residential Urban Villages (not Urban Villages or Urban Centers – which likely have less car ownership), 19% of occupied housing units did not have a vehicle. This number was dragged down a bit by Eastlake and Roosevelt, which each had less than 8% car free households, and dragged up by 23rd and Jackson and Rainier which each had over 30% car free households.