Reclaim Automobile Space

State and city planning goals addressed by the actions recommended in this section:

  • Climate Change
  • Compact Urban Development
  • Efficient Transportation Options
  • Neighborhood Livability
  • Civic Engagement, Public Participation and Collaborative Implementation

Reclaiming automobile space touches on land use, transportation, economic development, livability, affordable housing and many other issues. We locate this topic in land use.

depavingEnvision Eugene goals include reducing use of automobiles and should be encouraged. Many residential garages and driveways can find better use than hosting automobiles. Remodeling a garage into a living space increases a home’s usable space, often as a bedroom, and should be encouraged. Many driveways are oversized. Reducing their size should be encouraged. The River Road Neighborhood Plan should include specific language about reclaiming urban space taken up by cars as a corollary of reducing use of automobiles.

Businesses, certain public locations, Churches and other places can also reclaim parking spaces by removing pavement (depaving). Impervious surfaces can be replaced by porous material that allows water to infiltrate. Parklets can also be used to reclaim unused parking while providing pleasant public spaces that enhance the urban landscape.

Note: This is already being looked at by the city as a pilot in South Willamette St. and Willamette and Broadway.

Pavement Removal (Depaving)

Depaving is the act of cutting up and removing unwanted asphalt or concrete. Parking lots, driveways and other paved sites aggravate storm water management and the urban heat island effect.  They also prevent more productive use of many spaces such as growing food or water infiltration. Neighborhoods and the City should inventory parking areas for the amount of usage they receive. Little used parking on private property should be freed from parking regulations so it can be depaved or built on for a more productive use. Valley River Center’s vast parking lot comes to mind.

Home owners should be allowed if not encouraged to depave their own driveways if they meet certain simple criteria.

Automobile Action Items:


  • Reduce inspection and permit fees for simple garage remodels.
  • Reduce requirements for residential parking if home owners reduce need for automobiles. This action will coincide with BRT public transit and pedestrian friendly streets.
  • New apartments on River Road should be offered as incentives by the City and County to the developers who provide amenities for car free people and people who work at home such as:
    • reduced rent for renters who don’t have cars
    • on site car rental and LTD passes for all residents
  • Most commercial parking areas are way over sized. New city directives should decrease the size of parking areas.
  • If commercial establishments can document consistent empty parking spaces over a certain period of time, property owners should be given the option to develop the “reclaimed” areas as they see fit with development guidelines specific to such a change in use while providing incentives for storm water systems and residential or commercial redevelopment.


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