There’s a parking revolution happening in California.
Instead of thinking about how long until our meter expires, we’ve started thinking about how we can turn unused parking into homes, parks, and more.
And our leaders in Sacramento have been thinking about parking in this new way too. They’ve been busy at the Capitol spreading the word about how getting parking right is one of the secrets to making our cities more affordable and less polluted places to live.
AB 744 (Assemblymember Chau) is a bill co-sponsored by TransForm that has mostly flown under the radar this legislative session, but now it’s sitting on the Governor’s desk. If signed, it would help us tackle our housing affordability crisis, reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions, and make taking public transportation easier.
- AB 744 would modify outdated parking policies that currently force developers of affordable, senior, and special needs housing to build more parking than their residents need (especially in places where there is great transit!)
- In doing so, AB 744 would empower planners and developers to on supply as much parking as a new development actually needs, saving them money on construction and in turn, bringing rent costs down for future residents.
- AB 744 would also make it possible for developers to build more affordable homes (including near transit stops). Building more affordable homes near public transportation is not only a way to solve our state’s housing crisis, it’s an incredibly effective strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
For a detailed description of the bill, go here.
If AB 744 becomes law, we could see more successes like Garden Village, a student housing development in Berkeley that cut over $1 million in project costs by re-thinking parking needs. By working with our GreenTRIP program, the developer shifted from an initial proposal that included a $2.3 million underground parking garage to a traffic reduction strategy that nearly halved that cost and allowed the developer to provide additional affordable homes.
That’s why TransForm signed on as a co-sponsor of AB 744. We’ve seen the amazing successes that happen when planners and developers can focus on people instead of parking. We strongly believe that transforming our parking policies will open up the possibilities for cities to create more affordable places that people of all incomes can call home.
And leaders in smart growth, like Meea Kang, agree. A founding partner of Domus Development (who you may remember reading about here), Kang says: “AB 744 is sensible parking reform whose goal is to boost affordable housing production near transit.” She adds, “This bill would make California cleaner, more affordable, and a better place to live."
Builders and housing alliances across California (from The American Planning Association California Chapter to the California Council for Affordable Housing) support AB 744 - they're ready to stop investing in parking spaces and instead build more affordable, people-oriented homes.