Supervisors Pass Breed’s Bill to Loosen Some Parking Mandates

A new bill will make it easier for some homeowners to convert their garages to other uses. Photo: Michael Rhodes

The Board of Supervisors yesterday unanimously passed an ordinance removing some of SF’s 1950s-era parking mandates.

The “Parking Flexibility Ordinance,” drafted by Supervisors President London Breed and Livable City, will make it easier for building owners and developers to avoid building car parking when it would impinge on the street environment for walking, bicycling, and transit. It would also count parking spaces against density limits, unless they’re built underground.

The ordinance adds to the city’s efforts in recent years to relax strict parking minimums. Among the host of reasons to do away with parking minimums: They generate motor vehicle traffic and make it more costly to build housing.

“Do we really want to prioritize parking over jobs and housing?” Breed aide Conor Johnston said at a recent Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee hearing, explaining that the planning code amendments would “not limit anyone’s ability to construct parking if they choose, they simply give people more options.”

The ordinance was passed unanimously, without discussion, by both the full Board of Supervisors and the committee.

  • Fedor Manin

    “[It would] not limit anyone’s ability to construct parking if they choose, they simply give people more options.” —

    If it counts parking spaces against density limits, doesn’t that, in fact, limit people’s ability to construct parking? Unless all density limits have also been raised to include the space that parking would have taken up before. Which I hope is the case, but given that this is San Francisco I somehow doubt it.

  • lunartree

    Basically it’s a way to force parking underground since other articles say that the parking doesn’t count against the density limit if they put it underground. No developer is going to want to waste their limited space on parking so this will basically reduce ground floor garages in most new development which is a good choice.

  • baklazhan

    Well, on small lots, underground parking may not be practical. And in any case it would need ground-level access, which takes up a significant amount of space.

  • David Marcus

    Alright! SF just took another step forward.

  • the_greasybear

    Fantastic news. The fewer cars wasting space in this city, the better.

  • keenplanner

    This is a good step forward, but the city needs to establish parking maximums, similar to the .5/1 limit in the Market/Octavia Neighborhood Plan.
    Also, the city needs to get tough with banks who refuse to lend money to developers who don’t include parking. This could be an ordinance similar to previous ordinances forbidding the city from doing business with corporations who didn’t offer health care to their employees same-sex partners, as they did with married couples. This created an industry paradigm shift, and now companies who discriminate are the exception rather than the rule. This needs to happen with lenders who won’t loan without a certain amount of parking.

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