With the clock ticking, a state bill that would have banned parking minimums near transit nodes in certain circumstances was pulled from the July 3 California Senate Governance and Finance Committee agenda, shooting down major statewide parking reform efforts for at least another year. A.B. 904, a bill which waspraised by parking policy guru and UCLA professor Donald Shoup, appears to be dead in the water, but opponents vow to re-introduce a similar proposal next year.
Leading the charge for A.B. 904 was Mott Smith, a developer based in Los Angeles who sits on the California Infill Builder’s Association Board of Directors. “I’ve heard from countless cities that they want to fix their 60-year-old parking requirements, but they don’t have the money, the staff or the political will to take this on by themselves,” said Smith. “Next year’s version of AB 904 will give them tools to grow much more sustainably and affordably, without creating an onerous State mandate.” Berkeley Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, who introduced A.B. 904, is likely to sponsor a new proposal.
The legislation would stop municipalities from imposing parking minimums on new development of more than one space per unit or 1,000 square feet of retail within a half-mile of a transit node without meeting one of four exemptions. The legislation wouldn’t impact parking meter rates, require the removal of any parking space, or even limit the amount of spaces that could be developed.
However, opponents claimed those were all possibilities in their mis-information campaign against the A.B. 904, led by the League of California Cities. The campaign’s tactics were at times laughable: Smith remembers a flyer distributed against A.B. 710, a similar bill a similar bill proposed last year, showing a clown car and bemoaning the lack of car parking for the planned Farmer’s Field Stadium. Of course, because the bill doesn’t limit the developer with parking maximums, the image had about as much to do with A.B. 710 as a picture of aliens destroying a parking garage. Still, the campaign was effective.