The process to update regulations and limit parking places begins

As part of the move towards more sustainable mobility and a healthier environment, Barcelona City Council is planning to update regulations on the maximum number of parking spaces in blocks of flats, facilities, commercial and other premises.

The existing regulations on parking places were approved in 1992 and modifications have been made since then, the most significant one in 2003. At that time, the regulations were drafted with the aim of addressing the shortage of off-street parking places. The situation since then has changed greatly: the number of public places has gone up: mobility plans, regulations and sectorial laws have been approved, as have directives and legislation on the environment. The quality and range of public transport has also improved.

In the last 25 years, the amount of off-street parking has increased by 300,000 places, practically doubling the figure from 1992. At the same time, the number of cars has gone down. In order to adapt to current needs, the City Council is planning a modification to the regulations, which must involve the following:

— Adapt the pool of parking places to criteria on flexibility to continue creating enough spaces for off-street parking, at the same time incentivising other private mobility models which are more sustainable.
— Prevent an excessive offer of private parking spaces which encourages private transport at the expense of other more sustainable forms of individual or collective transport.
Reduce the obligatory number of parking spaces in protected housing blocks to facilitate the construction of more homes.
— Promote flexibility to use car parking spaces for other means of private transport, such as electric vehicles and bicycles.
— Contribute to environmental improvement, with the reduction in the number of places having a dissuasive effect on the growth of private mobility.

The Deputy Mayor for Ecology, Urban Planning and Mobility, Janet Sanz, explained that the proposal is designed to make the city more sustainable for everyone. “It’s another step, a grain of sand. Using the urban planning tools available to us, we’re working toward more sustainable mobility, reducing noise and reducing pollution problems”. Sanz also insisted that the current excess of parking places must end and that planning regulations which are the responsibility of the city must not incentivise more places than are needed.

The new regulations would affect parking spaces created in:

Protected housing: 1 space per 4 homes (current regulations specify 1 place per home).
Assisted housing: No places (current regulations specify 1 place per 5 homes).
Local facilities: No places (current regulations vary depending on the type of facility).
Commerce: Premises with up to 1,300 m2 of shop space, no places; premises with between 1,300 and 2,500 m2 of shop space, 1 space per 65 m2; premises in shopping centres with over 2,500 m2 of shop space, maximum of 2 places per 100 m2 (current regulations specify as from 400 m2 there is 1 place per 65 m2 of usable space).

For private housing, offices and hotels, the minimum number of places set out by the current regulations will now act as the maximum number. Either way, more places can be created in the public interest where local residents need them, providing the need is justified beforehand with a mobility report.

The Commission for Ecology, Urban Planning and Mobility has initially approved the modification to the planning regulations in the General Metropolitan Plan relating to parking in Barcelona’s municipal territory, with favourable votes from the municipal government (BComú and the PSC) and the CUP, abstention from Cs, ERC and the independent councillor Gerard Aradnuy, and votes against from the Grup Municipal Demòcrata and the PP.