A Libertarian Smart Growth Agenda
- Single-use zoning (check for Houston)
Street design regulations that require wide streets
Highway spending by government that sends people to the suburbs
Mandatory parking requirements for developers
"Municipal governments often require owners of apartments and commercial buildings to provide renters, employees, and visitors with huge amounts of parking. For example, the city of Houston requires apartment buildings to require 1.25 parking spaces for each studio apartment -- even though 17 percent of Houston’s rental households do not own a single car!"
I happen to think the parking requirements are basically being realistic for our city and prevent the flooding of neighborhood streets with parked cars. Every apartment complex I know of pretty much fills its parking at night, despite his statistics. 17% may not have a car, but I'm betting 50%+ have 2 or more cars to make up the difference. The parking requirements are there for a good reason: to prevent free-riding of developers off of nearby parking provided by others. I do believe developers can request a variance if they have a good reason to believe they don't need that much parking, but most developers seem pretty comfortable with it as far as I can tell.
Overall, while agree with the anti-zoning sentiment, and I like to think of myself as a "practical libertarian", I think his other three items are off-base from a practical perspective. Wide streets not only facilitate speed, capacity, and on-street parking, but safety, esp. when it comes to police, fire, and ambulance response times, and big fire trucks in particular. Maybe they could be narrower in some neighborhoods than they are today, but the ten-foot option he mentions seems crazy to me.
Government builds highways because voters demand them. That's the nature of democracy. That said, in Texas we seem to be shifting rapidly to toll freeways (because voters also don't want to raise taxes to pay for them), which should alleviate his taxpayer objection. And I stick by my usual opinion that freeways may support residents moving to the suburbs, but a lack of freeways means residents and their jobs move to the suburbs. People want newer, bigger, more affordable homes, and employers will follow where they go to get them.