Berkeley City Council ends parking requirements for new housing - The Daily Californian

On Tuesday, Berkeley City Council voted to remove minimum off-street parking requirements for new housing developments — a move that is anticipated to promote green transportation alternatives and help lower rent prices throughout the city.

Developers were previously required to build one off-street parking space for every new residential unit produced, which according to city staff, stifled opportunities to build more housing, raised rents and contradicted Berkeley’s climate and public safety goals. By eliminating the requirement, the council hopes to remove barriers in building new housing and cut down on the number of cars in the city.

“The parking changes approved this week address two major issues facing our city: climate change and housing costs,” said Mayor Jesse Arreguín in an email. “Requiring less parking in new projects decreases the cost of construction and also addresses the reality that people are opting to use other forms of transportation and moving away from a ‘car centered’ society.”

Developers are said to pass high construction costs onto renters, contributing to high housing costs in Berkeley. Recent city analyses, however, have shown that around half of all residential parking spaces in Berkeley go unused, suggesting that mandatory minimums have unnecessarily driven up housing costs by producing parking spaces that stay empty.

In addition to removing parking minimums in most areas of the city, Tuesday’s unanimous vote placed a maximum on the number of off-street parking units allowed for new projects in transit-rich areas. It also provides for a transportation demand management program, which includes off-street bicycle parking requirements and monthly transit passes for renters.

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