L.A. Eases Parking Requirements to Activate Streets

This week L.A. City Council members voted to approve an ordinance that gives the city more flexibility to lower parking requirements in select areas of the city to encourage adaptive reuse and walkability, report David Zahniser and Kate Linthicum.
August 16, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Supported by members of the business community and advocates of the city's "elegant density" policy that "seeks to channel growth along the city's expanding rail and bus corridors," the Modified Parking Requirement District ordinance was spearheaded by Council members in the Eastside and Central City with the goal of sparking "investment in century-old neighborhoods designed without the car in mind," write Zahniser and Linthicum.  

According to James Brasuell, writing in Curbed Los Angeles, "The ordinance allows for the creation of Modified Parking Requirement districts that allow the use of 'one or more' of 'seven parking requirement modification tools.' As explained in September, those tools are: 1) change of use parking standards (i.e., if a building's use changes, parking requirements won't), 2) use of a new Parking Reduction Permit (individual projects could request fewer required parking spaces), 3) buildings could move parking off-site to within 1,500 feet, 4) decreased parking requirements, 5) increased parking requirements, 6) commercial parking credits, and 7) maximum parking limits (each use within a district has a set maximum number of spaces)."

The ordinance is not without its critics, however, and one Councilmember, Paul Koretz, "who represents traffic-choked neighborhoods on the Westside," voted against it.

"Neighborhood activist Mike Eveloff, a Koretz constituent, said the parking changes rely on 'wishful thinking' and the mistaken assumption that when driving cars becomes too inconvenient, people will 'just not use them,'" write Zahniser and Linthicum. "The winners in Tuesday's vote, he said, will be real estate developers, who will no longer have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to build parking spaces."

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Published on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 in Los Angeles Times
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