Mindless parking requirements badly hurt infill projects. Even though these projects are often located near transit, city codes typically require boilerplate parking requirements. With underground spots sometimes costing $30,000 each to build, limiting the height and the size of the building as a result, these requirements are a major impediment to growing in our urban areas instead of sprawling outward.
California may finally be chipping away at them with AB 744, on the governor’s desk now, which would reduce parking requirements for affordable housing near transit. TransForm has the skinny:
AB 744 would modify outdated parking policies that currently force developers of affordable, senior, and special needs housing to build more parking than their residents need (especially in places where there is great transit!)
In doing so, AB 744 would empower planners and developers to on supply as much parking as a new development actually needs, saving them money on construction and in turn, bringing rent costs down for future residents.
AB 744 would also make it possible for developers to build more affordable homes (including near transit stops). Building more affordable homes near public transportation is not only a way to solve our state’s housing crisis, it’s an incredibly effective strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
For a detailed description of the bill, go here.
If AB 744 becomes law, we could see more successes like Garden Village, a student housing development in Berkeley that cut over $1 million in project costs by re-thinking parking needs. By working with our GreenTRIP program, the developer shifted from an initial proposal that included a $2.3 million underground parking garage to a traffic reduction strategy that nearly halved that cost and allowed the developer to provide additional affordable homes.
Let’s hope the governor signs this bill promptly, and also that the bill is just the first step in deregulating parking requirements for all infill projects across the state.