The Cincinnati Planning Commission has approved a 50% parking reduction for residences within 600 feet of a streetcar stop. Typically, residential units require 1 or 2 parking spaces, but for those new units that will be built along the streetcar line, the reduction in required parking will make housing more affordable.
The high cost of complying with parking requirements forces developers to either build only very high end projects or ask the city for tax rebates and credits to subsidize the construction of parking structures.
Building an above ground parking structure is very expensive, to the tune of $15,000 to 18,000 per space. An underground garage can be even higher, around $25,000. If a condo has two required parking spaces that adds up to $50,000 per unit. This may not be a problem for a $1,000,000 dollar condo. The parking would only by 5% of the total cost. However this is a problem for the $200,000 condo, parking would account for 25% of the cost.
Consider this hypothetical scenario. A husband and wife want to buy a condo downtown, own two cars, and have a budget of $200,000. Parking costs the developer $50,000; $150,000 covers the cost of the actual unit. If you have a streetcar, you can get rid of one of those parking spaces. That would drop the $200,000 condo to $175,000. In addition that household would only have to pay upkeep on one automobile, saving around $5,000 a year (gas, insurance, wear and tear, car payments) or $420 dollars a month that could be put towards the mortgage.
The couple can either have a $175,000 condo of the same size and an extra $400 to spend ever month, or put the money saved towards the mortgage and afford and extra $50,000-60,000 worth of house.
A place that wouldn’t be affordable now is, or that household can get more space and amenities for their money. Some people who would live and work downtown might not need a car at all.
Building the Streetcar will attract new residents to grow our tax base and save Cincinnatians money. Support our City–Build the Streetcar.