Berkeley to Remove Parking Requirements for Residential Properties

Berkeley is the second city in Northern California to approve landmark zoning reforms so far in 2021.

January 27, 2021, 8:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

East Bay Area

The green band of Telegraph Avenue, where it connects the city of Berkeley to the city of Oakland. | Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

The city of Berkeley, known for many decades as a hot bed of anti-development politics, last night undertook a major step in reforming its zoning code to create incentives for more residential development.

At a hearing that lasted into the evening, the Berkeley City Council approved an ordinance that eliminates parking requirements for residential properties citywide, with a few exceptions on hillside properties.

The City Council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance according to multiple sources in attendance at the hearing last night, including Councilmember Rigel Robinson. The vote marks a significant milestone for the city, which has a reputation for anti-development politics amidst sky-high real estate prices. A recent story about the "conservative" development politics in the city of San Francisco could very well have been written about the Berkeley of the relatively recent past, in addition to the more distant pastThat reputation has begun to shift in more recent years, as new leadership has altered the development politics of the City Council. In 2019, the city decided to study zoning for new Missing Middle Housing, and the city was among the first to ban natural gas in new buildings. 

An article by Patrick Siegman detailed the Berkeley parking reform ordinance before the City Council's vote. Siegman provides specific details about the ordinance, in addition to explaining the thinking behind parking requirement reform:

Reforms recommended by the Planning Commission would remove minimum parking requirements for all residential land uses, with the exception of some lots located on roadways less than 26 feet wide in hillside areas. The Planning Commission also recommends adopting maximum parking limits and instituting transportation demand management requirements for residential land uses.

The city of Berkeley's decision to eliminate parking requirements for residential properties follows just days after the city of Sacramento, located 90 miles to the northeast of Berkeley, approved landmark parking reforms while approving citywide zoning changes.

Monday, January 25, 2021 in Streetsblog USA


The Surprising Oil Tax in the Inflation Reduction Act

President Biden has made reducing gas prices paramount in his administration, so it was likely a surprise to hear a Republican senator last Sunday warn TV viewers that a revived and increased oil fee in the climate bill will increase their gas costs.

August 15, 2022 - Bloomberg News

People gather on a street with no cars during the L.E.A.F. Festival of Flowers in the Meatpacking District of New York City.

The Tide Has Turned Against Open Streets

Once a promising development for advocates pushing for a less car-centric future in cities, the open streets movement has ceded significant ground to cars since the height of the pandemic.

August 14, 2022 - The New York Times

Aerial view of downtown San Antonio with Tower Life Building in foreground

San Antonio Office Tower To Become Residential

With the building more than half vacant, the new owners of the Tower Life Building plan to convert the historic tower into residences that could include affordable housing.

August 15, 2022 - San Antonio Report

Colorado River

Department of the Interior Forced to Intervene on the Colorado River

More questions than answers on the Colorado River this week as the federal government failed to deliver on threats to force Southwest states to cut back on water use.

August 19 - High Country News

For Rent

Explaining Rent Inflation

The delayed effects of changes in rent costs make rent inflation a difficult figure to pin down.

August 19 - The Atlantic

Two cyclists on a paved bike trail through short grass with Dallas buildings in background

Dallas Names 66-Mile Bike and Walking Trail

When complete, the newly named DFW Discovery Trail will incorporate 50 miles of existing trails into a regional ‘super highway.’

August 19 - The Dallas Morning News

Transportation Planner, Planning Division

San Francisco County Transportation Authority

Product Manager

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Assistant or Associate Professor of Urban Design

Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.