Portland’s parking-policy successes will get a go now in California - Mobility Lab

Congratulations, California city leaders.

Your state legislators recently spared you the pain and trouble of taking the first step in a crucial political fight against unnecessary and even socially irresponsible parking requirements.

However, trouble lies ahead if you, as city officials, don’t take the important second step of guiding smarter street parking.

Senate Bill 35, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September, takes the smart step of ending minimum parking requirements for garages in new apartment and condo buildings “within one-half mile of public transit.”

Garage mandates are costly and destructive. They’ve driven up home prices for decades by making truly transit-oriented housing all but impossible.

Now, look at those words again: “Within one-half mile of public transit.”

In other words, on-site parking is no longer mandatory for multi-family housing, such as condos and apartments, almost anywhere in any substantial city in California.

“This bill does not preclude a developer from building new parking, but the city can’t require it,” said Ann Fryman, a policy staffer for state Senator Scott Wiener, the bill’s lead sponsor. “This is one way to save $40,000 to $50,000 per housing unit in a lot of areas, such as San Francisco and L.A., that are starved for housing construction.”

Ending parking minimums is just half the battle

It’s a big change for better policy. But what you’re about to discover, California cities, is that ending parking minimums is only half the battle. Unless you also take the next step – better regulating your on-street parking – this parking reform isn’t going to turn out well.

At some point, probably quite soon, your local development professionals will realize that they can build more homes more cheaply without on-site parking, and they will do so.

The people who move into these garage-free homes will own fewer cars than the average person in their area, but many of them will still own cars, and they will park on nearby streets.

Their car-owning neighbors – retailers and residents alike – will get upset. And they will hold you, city officials, responsible for their problem.

The good news is that there’s a very clear way to deal with this: you need to start charging money, or maybe more money, for people to park on public streets.

Click here to read the full article: https://mobilitylab.org/2017/11/20/portlands-parking-policy-successes-will-get-go-now-california/