Overview

Most zoning ordinances require that new residential development include a certain number of parking spaces per unit or bedroom. These requirements can add significantly to the cost of developing housing and have been found to have a substantial impact on the financial feasibility of affordable housing developments. According to one recent study, requiring one parking space per unit increases the cost of development by 12.5 percent, and two spaces per unit increases costs by 25 percent.

Areas near transit are particularly well-situated for the elimination or reduction of parking requirements. A 2008 report by Robert Cervero and colleagues provides evidence that transit-oriented development requires fewer parking spaces and generates less traffic than conventional development.

Case Studies

San Pablo Specific Plan (El Cerrito, Calif.)

As part of the city’s 2014 plan for the San Pablo Corridor, the city of El Cerrito adopted a zoning code that generally eliminated parking minimums and instead imposed parking maximums. The code differentiates between mid-intensity and high-intensity transit-oriented developments. Mid-intensity projects are allowed up to 1.5 parking spaces per unit, while high-intensity projects are allowed a maximum of 1.0 space per unit.

While there is technically no minimum parking requirement, developers wishing to include a ratio of between 0 and 1.0 (mid-intensity) or 0 and 0.5 (high-intensity) spaces per unit may be required to submit a parking study to provide a detailed analysis of the parking needs for the project and propose transportation demand management techniques to meet demand without additional parking.

In addition to the city’s relaxed parking requirements, the city runs a fee-in-lieu program. This allows developers to pay a fee to the city rather than build the required parking on-site and adds another degree of flexibility for transit-oriented and infill housing developments.

For More Info:

Ann Cheng, GreenTRIP Program, TransForm
Email: [email protected]