Monday, June 11, 2012

Reducing Minimum Parking Standards

Existing parking requirements for all development in and around downtown Sacramento are currently under review with plans to reduce or eliminate minimum parking standards. The City’s Planning Commission has been discussing plans to reduce minimum parking standards over time to promote walkable neighborhoods and districts and to increase the use of transit and bicycles.
According to the published reports; The Zoning Code’s parking requirements for new land uses are outdated and designed primarily for suburban development, as opposed to redeveloping our existing urban and traditional neighborhoods. These existing neighborhoods often include the reuse of lots and buildings that were created prior to the significant increase in the use of the automobile.
The City of Sacramento Zoning Code Parking Update is a citywide effort to fundamentally reform how Sacramento plans, designs, builds, evaluates, and thinks about its parking resources.
Throughout Sacramento there is a large amount of publicly available parking that already exists, but is largely underutilized. While several stakeholders mentioned that on-street parking congestion is a key concern, data show that there is ample off-street parking capacity at peak hour, with almost 46,000 vacant spaces in the Center City alone.
It is increasingly difficult to fit the current amount of parking required into a buildable project as the site and project become smaller.
The Problem:
• Parking requirements can create substantial challenges to not only the cost, design, and development of infill projects but also the community’s perceived negative impacts of the new development.
• Current regulations do not acknowledge the benefits of mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods that are well-served by transit in terms of reducing trips and the need for parking; they also do not provide incentives for owners of existing parking facilities to share their parking when it is not being used.
• Current regulations are inflexible both in how off-street parking can be provided but also in how parking lots are designed.
• Many existing infill sites contain little or no parking.
• New infill development is often expensive and cannot afford the cost or space required for suburban parking standards.
1. Planning Commission Discussion of the Preliminary Analysis March 8, 2012
2. Planning Commission Confirmation of Key Findings and May 10, 2012 Recommendations
3. Law & Legislation Committee Confirmation of Key Findings June 7, 2012 and Recommendations
4. Adoption of Report and Ordinances September 2012
Read more here, here & here.

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