Recently, the City Council voted 8-1, with District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jen Campbell dissenting, to reduce parking requirements to a zero minimum at new multifamily residential developments within Transit Priority Areas (TPAs). A TPA is defined as any area sitting within a half-mile of one or more planned or existing transit stops.
Since the first reading of the proposed parking regulatory reform, Councilmember Barbara Bry of District 1 including La Jolla has changed her position.
“This proposed ordinance is a meat-axe approach to an issue that requires sensitivity to the unique characteristics of each impacted neighborhood,” said Bry. “I will be voting no on Item 51: Proposed Parking Requirement Regulatory Reform for Multifamily Residential Development in TPAs.”
Added Bry, “Whatever the outcome of this vote, I will work with community groups to monitor impacts and to propose modifications to protect neighborhoods while moving toward the goals of reduced housing costs and reduced dependency on cars.”
Said Mayor Kevin Faulconer of this parking reform he first proposed last November, “We need to get government out of the way so constructing homes becomes easier, less expensive and faster. One of the ways we do that is by getting rid of outdated parking mandates that add significant costs to new housing.”
Here’s what La Jollans surveyed said about relaxing parking requirements in TPAs:
“There is no such thing as ‘affordable housing.’ There is only subsidized housing. The City is subsidizing housing in this case by allowing developers to build more units and have people park on the streets. Efforts like this simply lower the standard of living for all. We have an over- population problem, not an ‘affordable housing’ problem.” — Dave Little
“I don't support the reduction in required parking anywhere including along transit lines. I don't think the way to increase housing is best done by degrading the living standards not only for residents, but also the areas surrounding the new developments. … People will want the freedom of owning and using cars for a long time to come. … Until transit catches up to the need, people will want their cars, and for good reason. ” — Ken Hunrichs
“Another extremely stupid decision by our city government. Where will all the cars go? I hope in their backyards. We do not have enough street parking to take the influx of more cars.” — Sally Miller
“Neither legislators nor community activists understand what’s happening now or how it will impact life in the future. If dense new development without parking occurs, it will not be different from the present impossible parking situation. We'll just have to use one of the scooters cluttering up our sidewalks, while waving hi to the homeless guy living in his car parked down the block. — Fran Zimmerman
“My thought is units not requiring parking will not cause people with cars to abandon them, but attract a greater density of residents without cars. Automobiles are life-style accouterments for many So. Cal. citizens. These folks will be pushed to living units with on-site parking accommodations. The populations will be segregated accordingly. — Lincoln Foster
Councilmember Campbell said, “Putting in zero parking while adding density without the infrastructure of mass transit already present will lead to decreased quality of life and frustration for our citizens.”
Supervising City PIO Arian Collins noted that multifamily residential parking reform (RTIP) outlined in the new City parking ordinance “has a rolling five-year horizon period with identified funding for improvements.”
Collins said Metropolitan Bus Route 30 passing through La Jolla culminating at UTC is counted as transit, but does not qualify as a TPA.
“In our Multifamily Residential TPA parking standards layer, Route 30 is anticipated to have a frequency of 15 minutes during peak commute periods,” said Collins. “However, there is no other intersecting high-frequency route in La Jolla anticipated in the RTIP to qualify for a TPA in La Jolla. TPAs that qualify with Route 30 are primarily in Pacific Beach.”
Thinking longer-term, City planning director Mike Hansen said, “These parking reforms set the city on the right path for the future as new mobility technologies emerge and younger generations increasingly want the option of living without a car. It’s important to keep in mind that the proposed parking reforms are for future residential development projects near transit. So this will be a big long-term change for San Diego, but the change will be gradual as new housing is built in the coming years.”