Okay, now that we've established that Americans are voluntarily driving less—especially young Americans (i.e. future older Americans)—it's time to address the Seattle Times editorial board's arguments against loosening parking requirements for new construction near bus stops and light rail stations:
It is utopian to think that many people will abandon their cars. A few will, but the vast majority who can afford market-priced housing in Seattle will have a motor vehicle, now and always. If they have a vehicle, they will park it — somewhere.
Shorter Seattle Times: "The way things are are the way things always have been and always should be." You know, because they're old and wise, or something. Or maybe just old.
Jesus. Actually, people would certainly drive less if we didn't subsidize it so much, and such "market-priced housing" would surely cost less without the added up-front cost of these parking requirements (or if it doesn't, that's because the market values proximity to transit over off-street parking). I mean, I hate to get all Adam Smithy, but if people love their cars as much as the editors say they do, won't the market demand off-street parking in areas where on-street parking is inadequate? Isn't that how the market works?
I'm all for making Seattle more family-friendly (hence my support for building a downtown elementary school), and I freely admit that my daughter is my number one excuse for keeping my own car. But with adequate density and transit, it is possible to raise a family without a car—many people choose to. And it's not like car dependent families won't have other options.
Indeed the bigger obstacle to raising a family in Seattle is not the scarcity of parking but rather the scarcity of affordable multi-bedroom apartments. Given the choice between a private parking space and a third bedroom, many families (though not all) would surely choose the latter. You know, given the choice.