The Battle Over San Francisco's Parking Policy

Developers and businesses opposed to the city's smart growth-friendly parking limits are fighting back with a proposed ballot measure to reinstate minimum parking requirements.

"A proposed fall ballot measure backed by downtown and developers threatens to reverse the city's innovative efforts to create a more pedestrian-friendly city center. Environmentalists and other smart-growth advocates say capping the number of parking spaces that can be built with each new housing unit discourages people from relying on cars. That stance, pushed by Planning Director Dean Macris and others, in 2005 became official city policy for the downtown core despite a veto by Mayor Gavin Newsom (who required some prodeveloper changes before signing it into law) and fierce opposition by his business community allies. Now the proauto crowd is fighting back with a confusing measure that threatens the city's transit-first values."

"Under the proposal, new housing projects throughout the city would be required to provide a minimum number of parking spaces per unit, whereas the 2005 law turned parking minimums into maximums. Studies have shown that the city's existing policies will lower housing costs and encourage transit use, but developers oppose the law because they say homes with parking spots are what buyers want and are willing to pay extra for."

Full Story: Car-first policy



And the pendulum swings and swings...

City planners want maximum parking limits. The authors of this ordinace want minimum parking requirements. Has it ever occurred to anyone to just do away with parking regulations entirely, and let developers build what the market asks for? As Donald Shoup has shown, this will tend to lead to less on-site parking, since parking is one of the least-profitable things to develop.

Regulation of curb cuts is absolutely necessary on the other hand, since the developer is literally taking city property when they cut a curb (both sidewalk space and street parking space).

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