Scottsdale has new plan to solve Old Town parking

By Renata Cló | Arizona Republic

Scottsdale will consider increasing the amount of parking required at new housing developments in Old Town, but it’s a proposal experts say wasn’t properly studied.

Parking in the popular area of the city has long been a concern. More than 140 business owners and residents petitioned the city last year to require more parking for hotels, offices and apartments, among other requests.

The calls for more parking in Scottsdale come as some cities in metro Phoenix and across the country are reducing parking requirements because of greater use of light rail, a push for walkability and the expectation that autonomous vehicles could someday change our driving habits, and parking needs.

The Scottsdale Planning Commission in April discussed a zoning update to address parking concerns, but voted 5-1 against recommending the proposal to the City Council. Still, the proposed changes are slated to go to a council vote on Tuesday.

Planning commissioners recognized there is a parking issue but stressed the need for further analysis and more data.

“There is some data but there are some gut decisions that are being made here and I’m a little less comfortable making recommendations on gut. I’d like to make more recommendations on empirical data,” Planning Commission Chair Paul Alessio said.

Paul Basha, the city’s former transportation director has been critical of the change. Basha, who said he was speaking as a Scottsdale resident, raised his concerns at Planning Commission meetings.

“Whenever a zoning ordinance is going to be changed, it needs to get done thoughtfully, comprehensively and with facts,” Basha told The Arizona Republic. “And unfortunately, these proposed provisions are being done very hastily with minimal and almost no factual data.”

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