Colorado Lawmakers Reducing Housing Costs and Urban Sprawl by Removing Parking Mandates Near Front Range Transit

DENVER – Colorado lawmakers passed important legislation today that will reduce the cost of housing, expand housing options near transit, curb urban sprawl, and encourage more sustainable transportation options. Passage of HB-1304 Minimum Parking Requirements removes minimum parking requirements for multifamily residential, residential adaptive reuse projects, and mixed-use projects with at least 50 percent residential uses within one-fourth mile of rail and bus stations with at least 30-minute service.  

The bill prevents local governments in urban areas from enforcing minimum parking requirements in those new developments starting on June 30, 2025, instead allowing builders and local businesses to determine how much parking they need to meet demand. And it directs state agencies to conduct a parking study with best practices for optimizing the use of parking, and tools to reduce parking demand. 

Minimum parking requirements often force developers to build more parking than people want at the expense of the housing they need. In Denver, a review of 105 recent housing projects in Denver neighborhoods without parking minimums found that some developers provide more parking than previously required and some provide less. Overall, the projects provided 17% fewer parking spaces, saving nearly $146 million. 

HB-1304 has been supported by more than two dozen organizations including environmental and conservation groups, affordable housing builders, housing advocates, labor, transit advocates and more.  

Backers of the bill offered the following statements: 

“There’s no such thing as free parking. Imposing a mandatory minimum number of parking spaces for every build overrules the contextual details of each project, often requiring far more storage space for cars than the development needs and driving up costs for everyone,” said bill sponsor Representative Stephanie Vigil, District 16. “Our bill expands property rights, will create more housing and transportation choices, and will also boost our efforts in meeting Colorado's ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals.” 

"If you don’t need a car, or you have a family that only needs one car, should you have to pay more for parking spaces you won’t use?” asked bill sponsor Senator Nick Hinrichsen, District 3. “Should unnecessary parking regulations force housing to be built further from transit stops so that you need a car? Obviously, the answer is ‘no,’ and this bill will give Coloradans the choice to pursue more affordable housing that meets their individual needs.” 

“This bill won’t stop developers from building parking. Rather, it will allow builders to determine how much parking to provide for each project, helping right-size parking to meet demand,” said bill sponsor Senator Kevin Priola, District 13. “That’s a powerful tool to reduce housing costs and unlock more supply to address Colorado’s housing shortage.” 

“Parking mandates prioritize car storage over housing for people and reinforce car-dependence by assuming that everyone drives and pushing buildings further apart, which makes our communities less walkable and transit-friendly.” said Matt Frommer, Senior Transportation Associate with the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. “As Professor Donald Shoup said, ‘Minimum parking requirements act like a fertility drug for cars.’ By removing them for housing development near transit, Colorado puts itself in a position to meet its climate, air quality, housing, and transportation goals." 

“HB1304 marks an important step toward Colorado building more sustainable, vibrant communities,” said Alana Miller, Colorado Policy Director for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “Ending parking space mandates near transit in urban areas will help cut housing costs, climate pollution and sprawl. It will increase housing affordability and encourage economic development that meets the needs of people in our region, while giving builders the flexibility to determine precisely how much parking they need.” 

“This bill will significantly assist affordable housing developments, that we see time and time again are overparked – it will ensure taxpayer funds are spent on housing, not unused parking spaces,” said Laura Rossbert, COO & Housing Specialist, Shopworks Architecture. 

"We overbuild parking spaces and under build affordable housing. Now we can prioritize places to live,” said Susan Bolduc, Together Colorado Housing Justice Committee, Colorado Springs

"HB24-1304 comes at a time when the Denver metro region is facing an acute housing affordability crisis—many workers have been pushed out of their neighborhoods and forced to relocate far away from where they work and many working and middle-class households are facing tough decisions about finances exacerbated by high rents,” said Elena Santarella, BlueGreen Alliance Colorado Policy Organizer. “The BlueGreen Alliance Colorado coalition made up of 25 labor unions across the buildings trades, manufacturing, and public sector in partnership with environmental advocacy organizations works to build a clean, thriving, and equitable economy. Legislation like HB24-1304 will help us achieve this goal, and we are excited to see this bill pass through the legislature and head to the governor’s desk.” 

“Today, Coloradans pay for our unsustainable dependence on cars through housing costs, heath impacts, and lack of transportation options,” said Molly McKinley, policy director at the Denver Streets Partnership. “The adoption of HB-1304 is a necessary shift to reduce those impacts and expand housing and transportation choices in our state.” 

“Excessive parking is directly linked to more vehicle miles traveled, increasing pollution from transportation and negatively impacting our health,” said Renée Larrarte, Transportation Campaign Manager, Conservation Colorado. “This policy prioritizes housing affordability, public health and our environment over parking. With the passage of HB1304, we can have the right amount of parking in our communities and prioritize people over cars– contributing to a greener, healthier and more sustainable Colorado.” 

"With several obstacles contributing to the housing issues Colorado is facing, the passage of HB-1304 marks a crucial step forward. Along with other initiatives, this bill will positively contribute to developing affordable, accessible, & sustainable communities,” said Joe Antus, Executive Director, Signal Tech Coalition. 

"Boulder Progressives celebrates parking reform in Colorado as a win for affordability, equitable access, and environmental sustainability. We are proud to have supported this effort and eagerly await its implementation,” said Boulder Progressives. 

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