GLATWG comments on Bike Parking

Green L.A. Transportation Work Group has recently been grappling with issues related to parking requirements and how they relate to affordable housing. Many of us (myself included) are generally Shoupistas – followers of Donald Shoup. In The High Cost of Free Parking, Shoup makes a convincing case that unjustifiedly high suburban parking requirements drive up the cost of housing.

For example: in L.A. a typical new housing unit (ie: a condominim in a multi-story building) 2.5 parking spaces, and each space costs $20,000-$50,000+ to build… so… the parking requirement adds  $50,000-$100,000+ to the cost of new home. Reducing this requirement effectively reduces the cost of housing. While developers may not pass this reduced cost savings on to occupants/owners… overall, reducing excessive parking requirements generally can get more housing built more cheaply, which, based on market forces (supply and demand) should reduce the cost of housing.

Recapping: less required parking leads to more affordable housing.

But there’s a catch… some of the city’s most effective mechanisms for building and preserving affordable housing are built on incentives that are based on those excessive parking requirements. Basically, when housing developers build affordable housing, the city allows the developer to build less parking (under what’s called the Density Bonus.) Additionally, in some cases, excessive parking requirements prevent owners from converting rent-stabilized apartments into condominiums.

So… if we’re not careful, moving towards more rational (reduced) parking requirements can actually result in developers chosing to build market rate housing, instead of affordable housing.

Currently working their way through various legislative process, there are three initiatives that include reducing car parking requirements:

  1. AB710 (California State Legislation)
  2. Modified Parking District Ordinance (City of Los Angeles CPC-2007-2216-CA)
  3. Bicycle Parking Requirements (City of Los Angeles CPC-2011-309-CA)   

There’s a lot of commenting and dialog on all three of these… and, generally, the most suburban NIMBY types are out in opposition to anything that will remove any of their god-given parking… but for now, I am just going to focus on #3 the Bicycle Parking Requirements.

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Tomorrow will be the October Green L.A. Transportation Work Group meeting. It happens every month at 2pm on the second Tuesday of the month. Note the new location – the Califonia Endowment.

Tuesday, October 13th 2009 2pm-4pm
at the California Endowment, 1000 N. Alameda Street, LA 90012
Meeting room on 2nd Floor – at Community Partners

Green L.A. Coalition encourages attendees to use transit, bike or walk to the meeting. The site is one block north of Union Station, with convenient access via Metro Red and Gold Lines and numerous bus lines. If bicycling or driving, parking is available on-site.

Agenda Items

1. Campaign Updates
– Wilshire Bus-Only Lanes
– Complete/Living Streets
– In-Lieu Parking
– City Measure R Funding for Bike/Ped
– How do we want to follow-up on SB 375?

2. Working Group Business
– Revisit Workplan Priorities
– Select New Co-Chairs (discussion, likely to be decision in November)

3. Announcements

Green L.A. Coalition encourages attendees to use transit, bike or walk to the event. The site is one block north of Union Station, with convenient acess via Metro Red and Gold Lines and numerous bus lines. If bicycling or driving, parking is available onsite.
Coalition for Clean Air's report: Getting to Work: Your clean air commute

Coalition for Clean Air's report: Getting to Work: Your clean air commute

Green L.A. Transportation Work Group participant (and more often than not host) Coalition for Clean Air has released its new report “Getting to work: Your clean air commute.” The report’s primary author is me, Joe Linton, co-chair of GLATWG.

The report highlights employer best practices for promoting clean air commuting, including: bicycling, carpooling, walking, vanpooling, telework, transit, and, of course, managing parking!

CCA’s Martin Schlageter and I presented the report at this morning’s meeting of the Los Angeles City Council’s Jobs, Business Growth and Tax Reform Committee.  The commitee’s agenda included Council Motion 08-3249, in which the city is looking to set strategies and thresholds for employers throughout L.A. to implement a menu of transportation demand management (TDM) strategies, including pre-tax transit benefits and parking cash-out. Speaking in favor of the council motion and clean air commuting were City Controller Wendy Greuel, Samuel Garrison of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and Jason Elias of the Service Employees International Union. The motion now goes to the full city council.

Here’s the power point presentation we gave today, the full report is available here.

Committee Chair Honorable Greig Smith, with Coalition for Clean Air's Joe Linton and Martin Schlageter

Committee Chair Honorable Greig Smith, with Coalition for Clean Air's Joe Linton and Martin Schlageter

Notes taken by Stephanie Taylor.

Green LA Coalition Transportation Work Group Meeting 4/14/09
at Coalition for Clean Air – 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm



1. Work Plan – Identify benchmarks and timelines
2. City Budget
3. Mayor’s Meeting Review and Confirm Accomplishment & Ask
4. Presentation on Cicolvia
5. Updates/Report Back
1. Federal Stimulus
2. Federal Reauthorization
3. Metro Board – new members
4. Measure R – any immediate steps (?)
5. National Bike Summit

Work Plan

1) Complete Streets:

* Need to create a statement about Complete Streets to add to the blog.
Legal definition… state level, Caltrans Deputy Directives 64.
Also, add resources. – walkability checklist.

Action Items:
1. Joe will write a statement.  Complete Streets has all modes, cars, bikes, transit, ped… doesn’t favor one mode.
2. Jerard will send out email asking for photos with a blog link
3. Joe made a blog, we could post comment with links and do a flickr page.
4. Stephen Box will add legal definitions.   Add the Good magazine links.
Find any research on sidewalk standards.
5. Stephen Villavaso will send links on Austin Complete Streets.

2) Wilshire Bus Only Lane:

Ask the BRU – to see what the status is.  Follow their lead.  If we wanted to we could generate a list of possible good prospects for additional bus only lane.  The city of LA is doing this but reluctantly… if there was an outcry for more, maybe they’ll move quicker.

Action Item:
1. Joe will follow up with BRU to see if pressure points.

City Budget:

City of LA- budget comes out on Monday.  Facing $530 million deficit.

The bike and ped budget is a mystery.

If we had an ask: Don’t gut the bike and ped budget.

We could look it at the budget and analyze to try to influence the council to modify it for bike and ped projects.   Budget should be tied to a departmental strategic plan to establish priorities to hold them accountable and let departments be rewarded for performance.

Action items:
1) Take a look at Measure R with budget.
2) Stephanie will ask Jaime de la Vega about how the Measure R Local Return allocation will be decided.

Parking Ordinance:

* Do we want to get CRA support on the ordinance?  Look at downtown parking study.  Yes, we should meet with CRA.
* Would it revise traffic impact analysis?  No in transit rich places, have 20% excess parking.  The traffic impact analysis guides the …
* Parking update- The City of LA is attempting to sell their parking revenue for upfront money.  Chicago  sold their parking revenue for $500 million.  Not a good idea- it would privatize meter readers… bust union labor.    City gives up control and ability to use parking policy as a tool.
* Damien will write a blog about it tomorrow.
* The Mayor’s office was excited, but the council liked the revenue but had questions about control.  The mayor formed a task force.
* Budget gimmicks for one time borrowing is bad because it doesn’t address the structural problems.
* Push to have city to have a public private partnership template.
* The TOD Parking report will be done by April 30. Next step to shop it around to city council.

Measure R/Local Returns:

How other cities are using local returns (report from Tom Johnson):
* City of Bellflower-  Pacific Edison train tracks – put a bike path.    Used their Fed Stimulus.
* Long Beach – wants to spend $1 million on bike improvements – shared road, bike box- safe place to weight.
* Lakewood Blvd – Caltrans is responsible for its a highway.  So if want to make a bike lane, need to go with city.  City has to submit plan to Caltrans, but Caltrans hasn’t told them what to submit.
* A lot of cities haven’t figured out what to do with Local Return money.
* Increase connectivity to LA and other cities.

Action Item:
1. Set up a meeting with Rita Robinson as a new Metro board member.  First need to develop an ask.

Ciclovia Presentation:

Stephen Villavaso and Bobby Gadda of the LA Bicycle Coalition gave a presentation on the Ciclovia and LA’s effort (ClicLAvia).  Would like to pilot a Ciclavia in LA in the summer. Talking to Garcetti’s office about Hollywood Blvd.

Action Items:
1) Raise awareness of the Ciclavia concept.  Share the link on facebook.
2) Send the link to the workgroup
3) When the right time, the group can write a support letter.