Monthly Archives: December 2006

No Parking: Condos Leave Out Cars

A recent NY Times article highlights examples of condos being built without associated parking spaces. Although this practice goes against the codes in many communities, planners are realizing that “free parking” might be a reason why housing has become so unaffordable to middle-income families.

The article quotes Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at the University of California at Los Angeles and the author of The High Cost of Free Parking, “In the United States, housing is expensive and parking is cheap. We’ve got it the wrong way around.”

Although condominiums without parking are common in Manhattan and the downtowns of a few other East Coast cities, they are the exception to the rule in most of the country. In fact, almost all local governments require developers to provide a minimum number of parking spaces for each unit — and to fold the cost of the space into the housing price.

The exact regulations, which are intended to prevent clogged streets and provide sufficient parking, vary by city. Houston’s code requires a minimum of 1.33 parking spaces for a one-bedroom and 2 spaces for a three-bedroom. Downtown Los Angeles mandates 2.25 parking spaces per unit, regardless of size.

Today, city planners around the country are trying to change or eliminate these standards, opting to promote mass transit and find a way to lower housing costs.

Read the full aricle in the New York Times . . .

Surprise! Health costs rise faster than pay

There doesn’t seem to be any commodity that people’s pay can keep up with these days. Add Health care to the list. Although the rate of increase has slip to less than double digits increases over the last few years, health costs have still almost doubled (82.2%) since since 2000. Workers wages increased a paltry 15%.

Anyway you count the numbers, the results ain’t pretty for workers. Read Will Shanley’s article in the Denver Post . . .

Health care costs in Colorado have jumped 82.2 percent since 2000, more than five times the earnings increase for workers.

For family health coverage, the average annual premium paid by workers and employers rose to $12,386 in 2006, up from $6,797 in 2000.

Meanwhile, worker wages statewide grew by 15 percent, or $3,947, to a median of $30,337 per year.

Those findings were reported Monday in the study “Premiums Versus Paychecks: A Growing Burden for Colorado’s Workers.” Families USA, a health care advocacy group based in New York, prepared the report.