UPDATED, March 5, 2019: The San Diego City Council voted 8-1 on Monday to approve a proposal that will eliminate parking requirements for new housing near mass transit stops.
And with that, San Diego eliminates parking minimums in all new apartment/condo buildings near major public transit stops. Change also requires unbundled parking & makes developers offer non-car "transportation amenities" to residents (eg subsidized transit passes). pic.twitter.com/j3o7mMpv9r— Andrew Bowen (@acbowen) March 5, 2019
Proponents of the parking reforms, including Mayor Kevin Faulconer, say they will make housing more affordable and will help the city advance climate goals by encouraging more public transit use. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) published a blog post showing support of the reforms, saying they're "thrilled" about the approval of a plan "to spur more housing and make it easier to create walkable, transit-friendly communities for San Diegans."
The plan has faced some opposition, including from Councilwoman Jen Campbell, the only council member to vote against the proposal, who says the city's public transit is not efficient enough for such reforms. Additionally, NBC7 reports that San Diego attorney Cory Briggs will be filing a suit against the city on behalf of environmental group CREED-21 on claims of insufficient public transit.
- The City of San Diego advanced a proposal last week to eliminate parking requirements for new housing near mass transit stops, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
- The city council's Land Use and Housing Committee voted in favor of the proposal, which would allow the city to implement zero parking minimums across downtown, and within transit priority areas (TPA) outside of downtown. The proposal is intended to help reduce car dependency, increase housing affordability and advance the city's climate goals.
- The proposal will face a final vote from the full city council on March 4.
Parking mandates, which typically require one to two parking spaces per housing unit, have not been met with much demand in San Diego, particularly in the downtown area. The San Diego Planning Department found through testing that 100% of its sample sites had lower parking demand than one space per unit, and high parking ratios have resulted in astronomical costs — most notably $40,000-$90,000 being added to the cost of each housing unit and $300 million in parking currently being constructed.
The city is hoping to move away from such "outdated" requirements, similar to the nearby city of San Francisco. Late last year, San Francisco became the largest city to eliminate parking mandates in a move to increase walkability and decrease car dependency.
Moving away from such reliance on cars is a growing trend in cities around the world as populations grow, congestion increases and leaders become more climate conscious. New shared mobility options, such as dockless scooters and bikes, have slowly started to replace car usage for shorter trips in urban areas, which has led to the decrease in parking demand that San Diego has cited. To adapt to this trend, San Diego has vowed to construct a nine-mile network of protected lanes for bikes and scooters through its Downtown Mobility Plan.
Aside from alterations to existing parking mandates, San Diego is making high-tech investments to improve parking and curb use. In November, the city announced it would install 4,200 CityIQ sensor nodes built by Current by GE as part of an internet of things (IoT) project to improve parking and traffic. The city expects the sensor deployment could help support new resident-facing apps.