California's Proposed Parking Reform Bill Analyzed

A Terner Center for Housing Innovation at U.C. Berkeley analysis predicts that statewide parking reform, as proposed in Assembly Bill 1401, would have a significant impact on the cost of developing residential and commercial buildings in California.

April 16, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Underground Parking

MichaelGaida / Pixabay

One bill among this year's crop of legislation aimed at improving California's expensive development and housing market stands out: Assembly Bill 1401, according to an article published by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at U.C. Berkeley. The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, "would prohibit cities from enforcing parking requirements on residential and commercial properties."

The legislation is bold, according to the article, with "broad implications for achieving a variety of positive housing, economic, and environmental outcomes."

To illustrate the potential impact of the bill, David Garcia and Julian Tucker present an analysis using data from the 2019 Terner California Residential Land Use Survey (TCRLUS), including data on the effect of parking requirements for single-family and multifamily residential development projects.

The analysis predicts that AB 1401 could "significantly alter how much parking is built in new residential developments near transit."

The analysis also finds examines whether AB 1401 would lower the use of the state's Density Bonus Law, which "allows developers to gain concessions on requirements from local governments—such as lowering or eliminating parking requirements—in exchange for reserving a portion of their units at affordable prices." According to the analysis, however, the use of the law is fairly low, and where it is used, it is unclear if the law would adversely impact participation in the program.

The analysis concludes by noting the potential for AB 1401 to cut the cost of new housing and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "However, because of consumer demand, many projects may continue to provide parking on-site regardless of AB 1401."

As for the status of AB 1401, Assemblymember Friedman reported on Twitter earlier this week that the bill had advanced out of the Assembly Local Government Committee.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 in Terner Center for Housing Innovation

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