LA Planners Leapfrog NYC DCP, Approve Plan With No Mandatory Parking

Angie reported this morning that Washington, DC, is moving to reduce mandatory parking requirements in much of the city, which should lower the cost of housing and curb traffic. Meanwhile, despite talk last year of wide-ranging parking reforms for New York’s “inner ring” encircling the Manhattan core, the Department of City Planning has so far only managed to put forward a reduction of parking minimums in transit-saturated Downtown Brooklyn, the most screamingly obvious location.

All the shaded blocks will have no parking requirements under the plan approved yesterday by the Los Angeles Planning Commission.

Now you can add another city to the rapidly expanding list of places leapfrogging NYC on parking reform: Los Angeles.

Yesterday the Los Angeles City Planning Commission approved the Cornfield Arroyo Seco plan, which will eliminate parking minimums as part of a bid to spur mixed-use development along the Gold Line, a light-rail route that began service in 2003. (Streetsblog LA posted this summary of the plan by Joe Linton in 2009.)

Curbed LA reports:

City Planner Claire Bowin told Curbed today that the lack of parking requirements will allow developers to “minimize the amount of parking for specific projects,” given the neighborhood’s proximity to transit, the changing culture of Los Angeles, and the declining need for parking. Given that parking is usually one of the most expensive components of a development project, developers are expected to minimize the construction of parking, or build parking that they can then rent for public uses not attached to their site. The effect, says Bowin, will be to “let the market decide” how much parking is needed and where.

For everyone keeping score at home, Los Angeles has managed to do away with parking minimums along a corridor that’s served by a single light-rail line. Here in NYC, Amanda Burden’s planning department could only muster the will to halve parking requirements for Downtown Brooklyn, with its 14 subway lines.

  • J

    Amanda Burden and the Bloomberg administration should be extremely embarrassed by this. While the DOT has done some good things, the planning department is stuck in a 1950s mentality when it comes to parking policy. As a result, we’re stuck with uglier streetscapes, higher rents, and more traffic. There has been no almost zero leadership from Amanda Burden on this front.

  • Ian Turner

    This is truly stunning, given Los Angeles’ reputation as a place where the car is king, and where transportation is synonymous with driving. The Economist once quipped that banning cars “would probably have caused riots on the streets (assuming Angelenos could remember how to walk on them).”

  • Eric Rogers

    We did this here in KC back in 2008! No parking minimums in the downtown CBD core, and reduced parking requirements near BRT stations outside downtown. Most recently in 2008 we removed parking minimums in the corridor where our streetcar starter line, debuting in 2015.

  • Eric Rogers

    We did this here in KC back in 2008! No parking minimums in the downtown CBD core, and reduced parking requirements near BRT stations outside downtown. Most recently in 2008 we removed parking minimums in the corridor where our streetcar starter line, debuting in 2015.

  • Jake Wegmann

    Hey Eric,

    Can you give us some details on what’s happened in KC since those parking policy changes you mentioned? Has enough development happened such that an effect is visible? Really curious.  

  • A H

    Great news. LA may, in a few years, be a truly walkable city in certain places.

  • Anonymous

    It may surprise you right-coasters, but LA

  • Anonymous

    er, oops… LA is very walkable in many areas.

  • Station44025

    @northendmatt is right.  I’m in LA for the medium to long term and still adjusting.  Not enough crosswalks for my taste though, nor enough jaywalking.  I’m trying my best to behave and let the government tell me when I can and can’t cross the street.  But, I just heard a news story on the radio today that the city will be installing ten new crosswalks and launching an educational campaign to go with them.  Ha!  Plus, you can do a half-century on off-street bike paths.  Anyway, drivers are waaaay more courteous to cyclists here than in NYC, and much less aggressive in general.  Also, far fewer SUV’s, many more hybrids than NYC due to the lack of alternative transport options.  I guess if you can take the subway to work, you can afford drive your Escalade to the store?  Markets indeed. The main problem is everything is so spread out in LA because it is mostly low-rise and there is so much space devoted to parking.  I’m sure eliminating minimums will instantly yield higher density development. 


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