Excessive local parking requirements are the poster child for bad local policies that discourage infill development. It’s been well-documented that most local governments have a mindless ratio of required parking spots on the books for almost any type of project, and the result is less infill and higher prices.
Governor Brown took a small step to remedy the situation by signing AB 744 (Chau) last week. As I described after it passed the legislature, the new law will allow developers to request reduced minimum parking requirements for affordable housing projects near transit. It updates California’s density bonus law to allow developments to build less parking if they maintain a portion of their units as affordable to low income residents and are near good quality transit. AB 744 also amends the parking ratio for affordable housing and senior housing to require no more than 0.5 parking spaces per unit, and it amends the ratio for special needs housing to require no more than 0.3 parking spaces per unit.
This was a long-sought victory for infill advocates after a brutal defeat of a grander parking reform measure in 2011. Hopefully it will be a building block to expand parking reform to all types of housing, and eventually to all pedestrian- and transit-oriented development projects.