One of the major impediments to really reforming transportation in Los Angeles is that everytime a new development goes in, the city’s parking requirements force developers to put in more than one parking space per unit…even if the development is "Transit Oriented" such as the wasted opportunity at Solair in Mid-Wilshire. Unfortunately, changing the parking requirements for development isn’t really on the map. Even when city officials talk about "Complete Streets," it still isn’t ready to mess with people’s God-Given right to free or low cost parking.
However, just as the city is being ringed with cities that are shaming it’s bike planning; other areas of Southern California are embracing a more progressive way of looking at parking. For example, in Ventura County, a new parking policy that went into place in November emphasizes that developments that encourage walking or taking transit doesn’t have to provide the same level of parking as one that does not.
There are several other changes to their development code worth noting. In addition to the parking requirement reform, the new code also requires parking lot to be behind buildings instead of in the front, better landscaping and a plan for pedestrian access. It’s a far cry from having a maximum number of car parking spaces per development, which is the Holy Grail of parking reform, but it’s a heck of a start.
If you’re interested in reading the specifics of the plan, you can read the actual code here, Section 8108, or a slightly less dry companion piece, Parking and Loading Design Guidelines. Or for a more succinct summary, check out Where the Sidewalk Starts, a Ventura County Planning Blog, that breaks down all the changes in plain English.