San José Could Eliminate Parking Minimums

The city of San José has the highest minimum parking requirements in the state. Now, it is weighing a proposal that would do away with them altogether and let developers decide how much parking to build.

September 1, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Disabled Parking

Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock

Maggie Angst reports on the city of San José's proposed elimination of minimum parking requirements, a move that would reduce the cost of new construction and free developers from outdated mandates.

According to Jared Hart of the city’s planning department, one of the ordinance's key goals is "to rightsize parking by effectively removing an arbitrary required zoning code and allow developers to decide on the appropriate amount of parking based on a project’s location, tenants and access to transit." This would provide a more "market-based approach" to parking to ensure more appropriate levels of parking at new developments.

"The elimination of minimum parking requirements not only would provide developers with more leeway to decide the adequate amount of parking spaces for new projects on an individual basis, but it would also allow existing businesses to move into older buildings that may not meet current parking minimums or convert existing parking spaces into permanent outdoor dining areas." The plan would also move San José closer to its goal of reducing single-driver commute trips to 25% by 2040.

Some critics of the plan worry that it would create hardship for low-income residents in a city "which lacks robust public transit options and already suffers from parking shortages in neighborhoods across the city." But San José's minimum parking requirements exceed those of every other major California city, even surpassing famously car-centric Los Angeles.

"The city council will decide whether to approve the plan at a meeting in January 2022."

Friday, August 27, 2021 in The Mercury News


What We Really Mean When We Say Gentrification

The focus on gentrifying communities has, in many cases, eclipsed the similar problems facing more stagnant neighborhoods.

September 14, 2021 - Vox

Brooklyn Redevelopment

Study: Market-Rate Development Filters Into Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing

New research sheds new light on one of the most hotly debated questions in planning and development.

September 15, 2021 - Full Stack Economics

Rendering of aerial view of Telosa city

Why Tech-Utopian City Plans Fail

Like others before him, e-commerce billionaire Marc Lore wants to build the ideal city from scratch. Urban experts don't have much faith in his chances.

September 9, 2021 - Bloomberg BusinessWeek

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.