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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Federal funds boost Northeast high-speed EV charging network; the Heat Dome remains the top story over more than half the nation; Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in TX face health disparities; Groups debunk claims of 'skyrocketing' numbers of non-citizen voters.

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U.S. House passes the National Defense Authorization Act, with hard-right amendments. Political scientists say they worry a second Trump presidency could 'break' American democracy, while farmers voice concerns about the Farm Bill.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

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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