City Council Removes Parking Requirements

At the Oct. 24, 2022 City Council meeting, the final vote passed to stop regulating the amount of parking. Joining other California cities such as Berkeley, San Diego and Sacramento, the change in regulation means that the amount of parking can now fluctuate with the developers or businesses view of what they need, and are no longer enforced by the city. 

Council member Alex Fisch offered that the change in policy took “more than a few years,” and can be traced back to the General Plan Update community meeting when UCLA professor Donald Shoup spoke on his book “The High Cost of Free Parking” all the way back in April of 2019. Shoup has been influential in looking at the economics of parking in cities, and his work with the city of Pasadena was highlighted at the lecture as to how removing the traditional ‘free parking’ had benefitted the city in many ways. 

Mayor Dr. Daniel Lee offered at a previous meeting,”This is not an ordinance that eliminates parking, this is an ordinance that eliminates parking minimums.”

Council member Alex Fisch noted that community activists had played a role in moving the ordinance forward, saying “many local climate, housing, and safe streets advocates organized and educated the public. By the time eliminating mandates came to city council, only ten or so people objected, and it seemed likely that they had simply never encountered any of the academic or journalistic attention to the issue.”

Another factor in the economic benefits of abolishing parking minimums is lowering the cost of building. By not holding a legal standard, new builds have more flexibility on design, and can both address the need for parking and decide how to fulfill it. 

The ordinance passed, 3 to 2, with Lee, Fisch and Council member Yasmine Imani McMorrin voting in favor. 

The state of California is in agreement with the trend, passing  A.B. 2097 which will prohibit cities from requiring parking near quality transit as of January 1, 2023.

Judith Martin-Straw

 

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