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.
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."
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