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Saturday, July 13, 2024

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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Following OR, More States Consider Ending Parking Mandates

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Tuesday, July 25, 2023   

Parking lots dominate the landscapes in many cities, but state lawmakers across the country are looking to reduce the number of unused parking spaces. More than a dozen states that considered ending or reducing parking mandates in 2023 legislative sessions, following Oregon's lead. Nearly every city in the U.S. requires a certain number of parking spaces be built for each new business and housing complex.

Michael Andersen, a senior researcher with Sightline Institute, a Northwest think tank focused on sustainability, said policymakers are reconsidering past efforts to overbuild parking lots.

"People are saying, 'Wait a minute, wait a minute, there are a bunch of unintended consequences here," he explained. "There are a bunch of longer-term side effects of building our cities with these expanses of parking lots everywhere. Let's let cities evolve as they will.'"

Andersen added creating too many lots has environmental, social and economic costs. The boom in legislation, from Vermont to Oklahoma, addressing this issue comes after Oregon approved a law last year reducing parking mandates. In the state's eight largest metro areas, mandates are eliminated completely in certain situations, such as within a half-mile of frequent public transit.

Andersen said this issue is an extension of the larger housing affordability problem gripping cities both big and small and added the upsurge in telecommuting that accompanied the pandemic prompted a large migration of people from big to small.

"These housing shortages have rapidly become more bipartisan because they're manifesting in new areas, and I think people are just looking for ways to cut the cost of housing," he said.

California also eliminated or reduced parking mandates last year.

Disclosure: Sightline Institute contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Environment, Housing/Homelessness, Urban Planning/Transportation. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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