Austin Contrarian's Chris Bradford, who has closely examined parking in and around Austin's downtown, wrote back in December that sometimes parking regulations don't matter. Even where parking minimums are low or absent, location is central and transit is accessible, developers may still pile on the parking to accommodate high levels of car ownership among affluent tenants and owners or lack of walkable options in a neighborhood that is in the early stages of development.
This creates a challenge for the emergence of pedestrian-centric neighborhoods in formerly underpopulated or undeveloped areas, since the first new residents to arrive in such a location will necessarily be somewhat isolated and dependent on car travel for a wide range of needs, even where transit is adequate. Once ample, cheap and convenient parking is in place, the habit will be difficult to break. Maximum parking standards, or requirements that parking be placed underground or "lined" by other buildings, may not always be feasible and, in any event, address only part of the problem.