Yonah Freemark | Broken Sidewalk

Buses wait in line to enter the Port Authority Bus Terminal last April. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG NEWSFor most people, zoning requirements have little to no effect on everyday life. Indeed, zoning—which is defined by municipal governments and which regulates building features such as building size and allowed uses for new projects—is typically an issue that affects few others than developers and land use planners.

But sometimes zoning regulations get in the way for regular people, years after a building was built. That’s especially true in the case of parking requirements attached to new building permits.

I’ll use a personal story to show you how these regulations affected me. After deciding to move apartments and neighborhoods in Chicago, I settled on renting a one-bedroom apartment in a relatively new (10-year-old) building in the South Loop. Walking, the building is 1,800 feet (about seven minutes) from the Chicago Transit Authority Green, Orange, and Red lines; 1,900 feet from the Metra Electric line, and about 600 feet from five frequent bus lines. In other words, it’s very close to an array of transit options. It’s also in a dense, walkable neighborhood filled with shops and restaurants. Read more