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Monday, June 28, 2010

Portland: Drunk Driving Enabler?

Posted by Stefan Kamph on Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Writing on Grist, Jonathan Hiskes questions the common practice of "mandatory sprawl," when cities require an excessive number of surface parking spaces for businesses. Particularly: why are bars required to provide parking? This seems to condone, or at least enable, drunk driving.

If it were tougher to find parking around a bar, patrons would be more likely to walk, bike, get dropped off and picked up, or choose another watering hole.

Sightline Daily's Eric de Place looks at the situation in the Northwest: both Portland and Seattle mandate one parking space for each 250 square feet of floor space in a drinking establishment. Same in Vancouver, WA.

Of course, parking requirements have all sorts of loopholes, like grandfather clauses for old buildings and historic preservation zones. But the fact remains: bars are made for drinking, and cities require them to make it easy for people to drive away when they're done.

What do you think? Should parking requirements exist? Should bars be exempt? Is this just the latest in the onslaught of anti-car whining from people who love the bloody bioswales?

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