Anybody building housing outside downtown is required to make it car-friendly by building or buying parking spaces. ICC Coops is a non-profit with a social mission for providing affordable, democratically-run housing. They ran into these requirements as they’re building out their new affordable student housing in West Campus. Unlike most developers, they decided to fight the requirement by seeking a waiver from the rules. Some of the reasons they cite:
- Parking for cars raises the cost of the project, meaning they can’t provide as much affordable housing.
- Some students already want to live without cars. This will allow them to live more affordably.
- Other students may decide to leave cars behind when they have the chance to get a better, cheaper living situation at the new Coop.
- West Campus is a dense walkable neighborhood where students can find most things they need without a car.
- Getting a waiver doesn’t stop the Coop from renting nearby parking if they need it.
These reasons really apply to all of West Campus. When the city requires housing to be car-ready at the expense of affordability, we send a powerful message that sustaining car culture is more important than creating affordability. I’m glad these students are fighting back.