San Jose, California, became the latest city to eliminate minimum parking requirements for new developments following a unanimous vote by the city council to approve the measure on Tuesday.
The policy aims to make building additional housing easier and less expensive, encourage greater building density, reduce the public’s reliance on cars for transportation, lower pollution and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. During the meeting, Councilmember Pam Foley said the city was giving real estate developers an opportunity to “right-size” parking by allowing them to decide how many spaces to include in their projects.
“How many parking lots do we see that are big shopping centers that the parking lot is half empty?” Foley said. “We need to correct that and make sure that space is utilized for other things.”
According to data from the Parking Reform Network, a nonprofit founded in 2019 whose mapping shows more than 200 North American cities with parking reforms, San Jose is the largest city in the U.S. to ax parking requirements. San Francisco, San Diego, Minneapolis and Buffalo, New York, are among the cities that have carried out similar reforms in recent years.
State and local governments have eliminated or reduced parking minimums to address the nationwide housing shortage, fight climate change and make communities more pedestrian-friendly. In California, the movement received a boost in September when Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, signed legislation banning minimum parking requirements for new real estate development projects located near public transit throughout the state.