California developers can provide fewer parking spaces in new buildings under certain conditions — thanks to AB 2097, which Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed into law. The aim is to get more housing on the market, but will it work? Or will it cause more parking problems?
California Assemblymember Laura Friedman authored the bill. She represents California’s 43rd district, which includes Burbank and much of Glendale.
New housing developments in LA currently require a certain amount of parking per unit. Those parking spaces can cost developers tens of thousands of dollars each to build. AB 2097 does away with minimum parking space requirements for new housing within half a mile of major public transit stops. It’s an effort to promote denser development.
Friedman says that decreasing construction costs will help spur lower-income and middle-income housing costs through new development — and benefit the environment.
“There is a very strong nexus between our climate crisis and parking. Transportation accounts for about half of our greenhouse gas emissions here in California. And we're never going to meet our … climate goals, our public health goals and our equity goals — without making some fundamental changes in how we live. And one of them is … providing more public transportation and more pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure right here in Los Angeles.”
But she acknowledges that public transit isn’t always the greatest in LA. “We're certainly not there yet. But we have to make some changes to allow that to happen. And we know from data and from studies that people don't use public transportation if there's ample parking. We have to change the way that we provide and prioritize single passenger automobiles, but at the same time provide better public transportation options.”
But will all builders lower their costs if they aren’t paying for more parking construction? That remains to be seen.
Friedman says, “We have not heard from one market-rate developer … saying that they were interested in this policy [AB 2097]. We hear from people though, who do build specifically low-income housing and middle-income housing.”