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Los Angeles Planners Have Had It Up to Here With Parking Podiums

Above-grade parking garages, also called parking podiums, have become a standard typology across Los Angeles. From Koreatown to Downtown, new residential buildings are separated from the street by several floors of space devoted to parking.
October 29, 2016, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Parking podiums, like these examples at Vermont and Wilshire, are becoming more common in Los Angeles.

"Downtown Los Angeles has found itself in the midst of a building spree that has augmented its long stagnant skyline," according to Steven Sharp. "This barrage of ground-up construction has also highlighted some of the weaknesses in the City's building code, particularly in terms of how new buildings are expected to address the public realm."

More specifically, those weaknesses have allowed for the proliferation of parking podiums (i.e., several stories of stacked parking located between the street and the residential units above) as a common feature of the city's new residential towers. Here, Sharp explains the visual blight and safety issues presented parking podiums:

By forcing habitable uses farther away from the ground plane, podiums are seen as reducing "eyes on the street" and therefore impacting the vibrancy and economic health of the surrounding neighborhood. 

The Los Angeles Department of City Planning (LADCP) is preparing a response to the proliferation of parking podiums, acknowledging that the city's zoning code is at least partly responsible for the way parking garages are built in the city. LADCP staff recently released an advisory notice that calls attention to the existing regulations regarding parking.

Sharp digs into the advisory notice, calling attention to potential next steps toward limiting additional construction of parking podiums. 

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Published on Monday, October 24, 2016 in Urbanize LA
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