Skip to Content
Streetsblog San Francisco home
Streetsblog San Francisco home
Log In
parking

San Francisco Eliminates Parking Minimums

2:07 PM PST on December 17, 2018

In a win for housing affordability and walkability, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted last week to eliminate the city's minimum parking requirements.

The reform, approved by a 7-4 vote [PDF, page 7] last Tuesday, makes SF the latest city to dump antiquated rules that constitute a huge hidden subsidy for driving. Hartford, Buffalo and Minneapolis have all either moved to or done away with parking minimums in the last two years alone.

According to estimates by SF's planning department, minimum parking rules add between $20-50,000 to the cost of an apartment in the city. They also undermine pedestrian safety, requiring dangerous driveways to be built in some of the most densely populated, walkable areas of the city. And they also contributes to traffic, encouraging residents to own private cars, instead of take the train or bus or bike.

The mandatory parking rules date back to the 1960s and required [PDF], for example, one parking space for every six classrooms at an elementary school. In some places, they require one parking space per housing unit.

San Francisco has allowed developers to skirt those regulations through a exemption process. But this reform will make it much cheaper and easier to build at a walkable scale in one of the nation's most walkable cities.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog San Francisco

BART Grant is Good News for Oakland, Alameda, and Other Cities

Latest round of 'Safe Routes to BART' program includes $16 million for bike and ped improvements leading to and from BART stations

March 1, 2024

Advocates Hammer City College Trustees’ Climate Hypocrisy on Frida Kahlo Way

City College talks a good game about supporting bike lanes and better transit, until it comes to losing a few parking spaces

March 1, 2024
See all posts