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Parking Reform

Update Will Support Local Businesses and Reduce Transportation Emissions  

Today, the City of San Diego requires that businesses provide a certain number of parking spaces, which can lead to an oversupply of parking spaces. This adds significant costs to local businesses, who then pass the cost on to customers. Parking requirements PDF icon makes it harder for businesses to adapt to changing transportation and economic trends. It also encourages more driving instead of walking, biking, or taking transit—and therefore PDF icon increases climate pollution. The City of San Diego is considering parking updates to reduce or eliminate these parking requirements.

Businesses would be free to choose to provide as much parking as their customers need – or use those spaces for other needs, such as expanding their showrooms or outdoor dining. Check out these stories from some local businesses on how they would take advantage of this policy reform.

The Parking Update Builds On:

five-point parking update plan

  • Residential parking update: In 2019, the City removed parking requirements for multifamily residential developments in Transit Priority Areas, increasing mobility and reducing housing costs.
  • Complete Communities (Mobility Choices): In 2020 the City approved a program which will bring new funding for biking, walking and transit infrastructure in San Diego; at least half will be invested in Communities of Concern.
  • General Plan: The City of Villages Strategy is aimed at creating more affordable housing options near employment centers and developing a balanced, multimodal transportation network that will provide more sustainable options for people to get around.
  • Vision Zero: In 2015 the City of San Diego adopted a strategy to move toward zero traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries on city streets by 2025.
  • Our Climate, Our Future: The City of San Diego is currently refining its vision for climate action in San Diego through an update to its landmark 2015 Climate Action Plan that will elevate equity and economic opportunity.

This Parking Update Will:

man walking dog on sidewalk

  • Make San Diego’s public spaces work for people - Commercial parking reform will help remake our neighborhoods around people instead of cars, creating more safe, walkable neighborhoods/shopping districts.
  • Meet climate action goals - This will help the City meet its Climate Action Plan goal to encourage more people to walk, bike and take transit, reducing the need to drive and reducing congestion and its impacts on our climate and air quality.
  • Make development of new businesses easier and more affordable - The removal of parking requirements for all neighborhood-serving retail establishments means that development of new and infill businesses will be unburdened by the cumbersome process and cost of building parking—up to $25,000 per stall.
  • Make adapting old businesses to new times easier – No longer will businesses be prevented from starting a new enterprise because their building doesn’t have enough parking.

Proposed Update Details:

Location Within Transit Priority Areas (TPAs) Outside of TPAs
Current 1.0 - 12.8 spaces/1000 sq ft FA minimum parking requirements for commercial, office, mixed use, light industrial, theatres, health clubs, swimming pools, hotels and storage facilities 1.0 - 4.3 spaces/1000 sq ft Floor Area minimum parking requirements for neighborhood serving retail
Change Zero minimum parking requirements for commercial, office, mixed use, light industrial, theatres, health clubs, swimming pools, hotels and storage facilities Zero minimum parking requirements for neighborhood-serving retail
Benefits Supports more mobility options in areas well-served by public transit, where jobs and services are close by Enables more small businesses to open, as current parking regulations may limit their ability to lease small commercial areas

San Diego's parking policy reform is supported as a climate action by the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge. San Diego is one of 25 cities participating in the Climate Challenge, a program to significantly deepen and accelerate their efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for their residents.

Parking Standards Transit Priority Areas

Parking Update Policy Timeline

Learn Share Act graphic timeline

Learn icon   Learn: February - June 2021

City staff is currently conducting public outreach to an array of stakeholders including Barrio CAT, BIA Urban Council, BID Alliance, BIOCOM, BOMA, Business for Good, Casa Familiar, City of San Diego Mobility Board, City of San Diego Small Business Advisory Board, Coastal Commission, Downtown San Diego Partnership, Equity Stakeholder Working Group, NAIOP, Pacific Beach Parking Advisory Board, Quality of Life Coalition, San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, SD Business Owners and Managers Association, SD Chamber of Commerce, Urban Sustainability Coalition and the Vision Zero Coalition.

Join us on Wednesday, July 14 at 6 p.m. for a community outreach event. The event will include a presentation from staff and Q&A. Please visit bit.ly/ParkingPolicyForum to register and receive a zoom link.

If you’re interested in having staff present to an organization you’re a part of please contact us at TFrench@sandiego.gov.

Act icon   Act: May - July 2021

The parking reform project was presented to the Planning Commission on Thursday, June 3, 2021 and the Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. We anticipate this project will go before the City Council in July 2021.