Long Beach’s State Senator Lowenthal Takes on Parking Requirements

3_2_09_lowenthal.jpgLast week, State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) introduced legislation that takes aim at how California’s municipalities think about parking and parking requirements.  What S.B. 518 is missing in co-sponsors it makes up for in chutzpah.  If enacted, the legislation would require that every municipality in the state earn at least "20 points" in parking reforms.  These reforms range from eliminating the city’s parking requirement for development which is worth 20 points to requiring that employers offer transit passes en lieu of parking worth only 2 points.

Locally, this bill would have an amazing impact on transportation planning if it were to become law.  All of a sudden the city would be forced to think of building transit-oriented development without having at least two car spaces for every residential unit or setting aside part of its parking fees for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. 

However, getting this legislation passed and signed is going to be a heavy lift.  Despite the many positive impacts that parking reform would have for transportation network and environment by reducing V.M.T., there is bound to be a lot of pro-automobile forces pushing back against the legislation and so far there has been almost sign of a campaign promoting it.  As a matter of fact, the only place I found this legislation mentioned was Infosnack, a blog originating out of Washington, D.C.  In other words, seeing this legislation passed into law may be a heavy lift; but then most things worth doing are.

For a full list of all the ways a municipality can earn points, read on after the jump.

MEASURE                                  |POINTS |
|Eliminate minimum parking requirements   |       |
|citywide or within the unincorporated    |       |
|county.                                  |20     |
|Reduce average minimum parking           |       |
|requirements for all general office,     |       |
|general retail, general commercial, and  |       |
|similar development citywide or within   |       |
|the unincorporated county to:            |       |
|Less than 3 spaces per 1,000 square feet |2      |
|Less than 2 spaces per 1,000 square feet |5      |
|Less than 1 space per 1,000 square feet  |10     |
|Eliminate minimum parking requirements   |       |
|for projects in transit intensive areas. |10     |
|Establish maximum parking restrictions   |       |
|for all general office, general retail,  |       |
|general commercial, and similar          |       |
|development at or below the following:   |       |
|3 spaces per 1,000 square feet           |10     |
|2 spaces per 1,000 square feet           |15     |
|1 space per 1,000 square feet            |20     |
|Establish commercial parking maximums of |       |
|2 or fewer spaces per 1,000 sq. feet     |       |
|citywide or within the unincorporated    |       |
|county.                                  |10     |
|Establish commercial parking maximums of |       |
|2 or fewer spaces per 1,000 sq. feet in  |       |
|transit intensive areas.                 |5      |
|Establish residential parking maximums   |       |
|of 1 or fewer spaces per unit in transit |       |
|intensive areas.                         |5      |
|Establish design controls requiring      |       |
|parking to be underground or ""wrapped'' |       |
|in active uses on building frontages     |       |
|facing public streets.                   |2      |
|Remove restrictions against residential  |       |
|tandem parking, including eliminating    |       |
|requirements that parking must be        |       |
|independently accessible to count toward |       |
|minimum residential parking requirement, |       |
|if any.                                  |2      |
|Remove restrictions against mechanized   |       |
|and mechanical ""lift'' parking,         |       |
|including counting mechanized spaces     |       |
|toward minimum requirement, if any.      |2      |
|Establish a shared parking ordinance and |       |
|requirements for interconnection of      |       |
|parking in all commercial areas.         |2      |
|Remove or increase allowable density     |       |
|limits and floor area ratios (FAR),      |       |
|allowing infill development on existing  |       |
|parking lots.                            |10     |
|MANAGEMENT                               |       |
|Adopt an ordinance to require that any   |       |
|lease for a residential dwelling unit    |       |
|within a housing development of five or  |       |
|more units, if a parking space or spaces |       |
|are provided in connection with the      |       |
|lease, include a separate unbundled      |       |
|charge for the parking space or spaces   |       |
|that reflects the full cost of the       |       |
|parking space or spaces but is not less  |       |
|than the number of parking spaces        |       |
|multiplied by the cost of a monthly      |       |
|transit pass within the city, county, or |       |
|city and county and that the lessee may  |       |
|opt out of the parking charge by         |       |
|foregoing use of the parking space or    |       |
|spaces.                                  |5      |
|Adopt an ordinance to require that any   |       |
|lease for commercial space in a complex  |       |
|of five or more commercial tenants       |       |
|include a separate unbundled charge for  |       |
|the parking space or spaces that         |       |
|reflects the full cost of the parking    |       |
|space or spaces but is not less than     |       |
|the number of parking spaces multiplied  |       |
|by the cost of a monthly transit pass    |       |
|within the city, county, or city and     |       |
|county and that the lessee may opt out   |       |
|of the parking charge by foregoing use   |       |
|of the parking space or spaces.          |5      |
|Adopt an ordinance to require that any   |       |
|new employment contract under which the  |       |
|employer provides a parking space within |       |
|the city, county, or city and county     |       |
|include a nonreimbursable charge to the  |       |
|employee that reflects the full cost of  |       |
|the parking space but is not less than   |       |
|the cost of a monthly transit pass       |       |
|within the city, county, or city and     |       |
|county and that the employee may opt out |       |
|of by foregoing use of the parking space.|5      |
|Adopt an ordinance to require employers  |       |
|to offer transit passes to all           |       |
|employees, including full time, part     |       |
|time, and seasonal employees, on a       |       |
|pretax basis and certify                 |       |
|compliance upon application for a new or |       |
|renewal business license.                |2      |
|PARKING MANAGEMENT                       |       |
|Adopt an ordinance to set on-street      |       |
|parking meter and public parking lot and |       |
|garage rates to achieve an 85% target    |       |
|occupancy rate during hours when         |       |
|adjacent businesses are open or employ   |       |
|demand-responsive rates that vary        |       |
|throughout the day to achieve an 85%     |       |
|target occupancy rate.                   |10     |
|Establish a Parking Benefit District,    |       |
|whereby all or a portion of new public   |       |
|parking revenues are directed toward     |       |
|improvements within the district where   |       |
|the revenue was raised.                  |5      |
|Establish a Residential Parking Benefit  |       |
|District, whereby a limited number of    |       |
|commuters may pay to park       in an    |       |
|otherwise restricted Residential Parking |       |
|Permit area, with the net revenue        |       |
|directed toward improvements within the  |       |
|district where the revenue was raised.   |5      |
|Install parking meters in areas with     |       |
|parking occupancy rates of greater than  |       |
|85% and establish meter rates such that  |       |
|parking availability improves to 85% or  |       |
|better.                                  |2      |
|PARKING REVENUE                          |       |
|Adopt an ordinance to direct at least    |       |
|50% of net public parking revenues to    |       |
|programs that reduce parking demand,     |       |
|including, but not limited to, public    |       |
|transit, transportation demand           |       |
|management, or bicycle and pedestrian    |       |
|infrastructure and promotion.            |3      |
|Adopt a parking sales tax or use fee     |       |
|upon parkers, with at       least 85% of |       |
|resulting net revenue directed at        |       |
|programs that reduce parking demand,     |       |
|including, but not limited to, public    |       |
|transit, transportation demand           |       |
|management, or bicycle and pedestrian    |       |
|infrastructure and promotion.            |5      |
|Adopt a parking impact fee or property   |       |
|assessment on parking owners, with at    |       |
|least 85% of resulting net revenue       |       |
|directed at programs that reduce parking |       |
|demand, including, but not limited to,   |       |
|public transit, transportation demand    |       |
|management, or bicycle and pedestrian    |       |
|infrastructure and promotion.            |5      |

  • Hey, cool! Thanks for picking up my article. I also wrote a similar post for Greater Greater Washington, here.

    I only knew about this because Dr. Shoup posted it to Facebook.


  • The strength of our country is based upon being abled to support the disabled and unemployed, and providing medical coverage for any citizen of this nation when medical treatment is necessary. How in the world can the disabled elderly, be neglected and forced to suffer both physically and emotionally, due to the faltering of our economy? We have enough money to maintain NASA with scientific advancement, but we cannot provide insurance for the recovery of heart failure, cardio-disorders, diabetes, orthopedic disorders and long term yet mild brain damage caused by the neglect of heart failure and mild strokes? Jeff W. Harding will die much sooner than necessary if the state continues to ignore his urgent applications for disabiliy and medi-cal. Record of this statement is now filed for use of proof and confirmation, and I will be awaiting your response.

  • I wasn’t mistaking in re to Jeffrey not being strong enough to live…he died; on July 2nd, 2009. I hope this shows you what is the most important aspects that we must work on, together as a nation. My husband is never going to come back to me. Yet we may be able to help others just like my husband, to maintain so many different aspects of strength, as we work together in re building our nation from the ground up.

  • Well… SB518 apparently didn’t pass yet… but Lowenthal got a parking cash-out bill passed and signed. This from Environmental Defense Fund:

    “Thanks to many of you for signing onto letters supporting SB 728, the Lowenthal parking cash-out bill co-sponsored by EDF and NRDC. The governor signed the bill, which creates the first significant improvement in California’s parking cash-out law since it was first passed in 1992. The new law allows local entities the option of enforcing parking cash-out. In the past, enforcement rested only with the California Air Resources Board, which didn’t have the capacity to actively implement and enforce the program around the state.

    Thanks also for your support on AB 1186, the Blumenfield bill that would have required landlords to disclose what portion of the cost of commercial leases for companies with 50 or more employees covered parking. This would have made it easier for companies to make parking cash-out available to employees. This was a good bill that ultimately didn’t face any known opposition, thanks to Assemblymember Blumenfield’s work to satisfy concerns. Nevertheless, the governor vetoed. The bill was sponsored by Mr. Blumenfield himself, but Mr. Blumenfield’s staff got support and help from the environmental community and the City of Los Angeles on this one.”

    Kathryn Phillips
    Director, California Transportation and Air Initiative
    Environmental Defense Fund

  • Monica

    What a jerk, as if people were not having a hard enough time, no one will shop/do business if they can’t park. He can give up his luxery car, but Americans will continue driving. He is the next Democrat to get fired! That law will not pass, it will kill businesses and people being able to get to work. The government can also cool it on the gas tax which is more than the gaS ITSELF!

  • @Monica “no one will shop/do business if they can’t park” – there’s a lot economists (google Don Shoup) who’ve studied parking and who’ve found that one of the problems with parking is that when it’s underpriced (free) then people clog it up. When the user’s cost for parking more accurately reflects the market cost of that parking, then there is more turnover, and it’s actually good for business. It also reduces the number of cars driving arond looking for a parking spot. That reduced driving is also good for the environment, good for cutting down traffic congestion, good for transit, etc. Charging a market price for parking is a win-win.

    Also regarding “the gas tax which is more than the gaS ITSELF!” – the gas tax is actually a whole lot less than the tax. The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon (since 1993 – see http://www.infrastructurist.com/2010/01/21/how-often-is-the-gas-tax-raised-most-americans-have-no-clue/ ) With sales taxes, etc., Californians pay about 64 cents tax on a gallon of gas which costs, what, these days? $3-$4. (see http://www.californiagasprices.com/tax_info.aspx ) so the tax is not more than the gas itself… it’s around 1/5th of the cost ($0.60/$3)


Wait ‘Til Next Year: Parking Reform Bill Pulled from Assembly Committee

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 […]

Finally, a 710 Worthy of Support: State Considers Restricting Parking in Transit Oriented Districts (Updated Below)

A.B. 710, the Infill Development and Sustainable Community Act of 2011 introduced by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) would mandate that automobile parking minimums in Transit Oriented Developments would be capped to one car per residential unit or per 1,000 square feet of retail space.  The Assembly Housing & Community Development Committee is scheduled to hear […]