“Minimum parking requirements have been shown to increase the cost of development, which therefore raises rents and home prices. Recent research demonstrated that the costs of building and providing parking are passed on to consumers and that mandating parking discourages the construction of small housing units that may be more affordable to lower-income households” write David Garcia and Julian Tucker in their analysis of proposed Assembly Bill 1401 for the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at U.C. Berkeley.
Parking minimums have caused numerous problems in our cities. We’ve written before about how cars waste space. Providing parking significantly increases the cost of development causing prices to rise and discouraging smaller, more affordable housing projects. Parking has also played a part in reducing the biodiversity of our cities. More asphalt (and less trees) contributes to the urban heat island effect, adds chemical compounds to our groundwater and increases the risk of flooding and pollution from stormwater runoff. And parking encourages car use which adds to air and noise pollution.
In California, parking requirements exist in almost every jurisdiction. Assembly Bill 1401, introduced by Assembly Member Laura Friedman, could significantly change those parking requirements throughout the state. The bill proposes prohibiting Californian cities from enforcing parking minimums for developments near public transit. Nothing in the bill will prevent developers from including parking. But although there is still market demand for parking, including it significantly adds to the total cost of a development – a study of 678 new developments in California over the last decade showed that parking added approximately $36,000 per unit. This might just encourage developers to at least offer less parking than previously.
Attitudes to cars and parking need to change. In the meanwhile, AB 1401 offers some flexibility for developers and the alluring possibility of cuts to the cost of housing and greenhouse gas emissions to boot.
Read the original research here.
Image by Peggy and Marco Lachman-Anke from Pixabay