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City Planning Department

Mayor Faulconer’s Parking Reforms Win City Council Approval

Latest ‘Housing SD’ Reform Overhauls Parking Standards to Reduce Traffic and Increase Housing Affordability & Supply

Monday, March 4, 2019 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – Today the City Council adopted the latest of Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s aggressive “Housing SD” reforms by overhauling parking standards to reduce traffic and increase housing affordability and supply.

“We need to get government out of the way so constructing homes becomes easier, less expensive and faster,” Mayor Faulconer said. “One of the ways we do that is by getting rid of outdated parking mandates that add significant costs to new housing. What we’re doing is separating the cost of parking from the cost to rent or buy a unit so San Diegans can choose for themselves to pay for a parking spot or go without parking if that works better for their lifestyle or financial situation.”

The parking reforms allow builders to develop units without parking to lower housing costs and encourage more residents to use transit in line with the goals of the City’s landmark Climate Action Plan. Key elements include:

  • Zero Minimum Parking Space Requirements – Zero minimum parking requirements for multi-family residential development within Transit Priority Areas (TPAs) defined as areas within a half mile of an existing or planned major transit stop.
  • New Transportation Amenities – Based on a project’s ranking for vehicle trip reduction, transportation amenities would be required. Amenities could include bicycle storage or repair stations; onsite bike share; transit pass subsidies; or onsite healthy food, retail or day care facilities.
  • Unbundling Cost of Parking from Cost of Housing – Require any parking spaces that are provided be unbundled, meaning that the cost of parking must be paid separately and optional from the purchase price or rent of a home.
  • Affordable Housing Projects Incentivized – No unbundling is required for projects in TPAs that include at least 20 percent affordable units.
  • Parking Maximum for Downtown – Parking may not exceed a ratio of one space per unit except under certain circumstances.

The parking reforms aim to reduce housing costs (each parking space costs between $35,000 and $90,000); decrease greenhouse gas emissions by shifting from cars to other modes of transportation; implement transportation amenities for community benefit; and increase housing and mobility options for residents.

“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,” said Mike Hansen, the City’s Planning Director. “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.”

The City worked together with third-party transportation experts on a data-informed approach to determine how to best reform its parking requirement. This involved a technical peer city review, testing, policy benchmarking, review recent legislation and informational interviews.

Through the review of cities where parking policies have been successful, Seattle and Portland were identified as model cities. Both eliminated parking requirements for multi-family units that resulted in decreased automobile ownership, increased transit use, and greater housing production and affordability.

CONTACT: Craig Gustafson at 619-453-9880 or