Weiss leads opposition to cutting apartment parking spaces

first_imgNeighborhood activists and Councilman Jack Weiss rejected a proposal Tuesday that would make it easier for developers to cut the number of parking spaces included in new apartment and condo projects. The idea is to reduce parking requirements when developers offer tenants or buyers transit alternatives, such as van pools, bike storage, transit passes or flex cars. But Weiss and others argued that Los Angeles is no Manhattan or San Francisco or London, cities where people can easily get around without their own vehicle. Los Angeles, they said, is still a city of cars and reducing the parking requirement will just lead to more crowded curbs. “Just passing a new law like this will not make all the cars in the city go away, poof, like that,” Weiss said during a Planning and Land Use Committee hearing. “What you will do is cause folks who own cars to continue to own cars and just park farther away from where they live, and then you’re going to end up encroaching on other neighborhoods and you’re going to have more applications for preferential parking districts.” But the Planning Department and Councilman Ed Reyes said the proposal is one option to deal with two of L.A.’s most pressing problems: traffic and the lack of affordable housing. “The cost of parking for multifamily buildings is extremely high and really does minimize how much housing can be built in this city,” said City Planner Tom Rothmann, who estimates the cost of building underground parking about $25,000 per space. Allowing developers to include less parking could bring down the cost of rentals or for-sale condos, and the incentives, such as offering tenants transit passes or flex cars, could entice residents to give up their cars. “Certain council members might find this a tool, as another approach to promoting affordable housing in areas where there is higher poverty,” said Councilman Ed Reyes, who supported the proposal. But homeowners groups and some neighborhood councils opposed the idea, saying many communities are already short on private parking and curbside parking. They weren’t convinced that developers’ incentives or even building near transit will reduce the demand for cars in L.A. “Just because you live near transit doesn’t mean you’re going to take it because your job may not be near where transit goes,” said Renee Weitzer, chief of staff to Councilman Tom LaBonge, who opposed the parking proposal. She and LaBonge recently attended the grand opening of a 138-unit building next to the Universal City Red Line station. Roughly 80 percent of the building is leased, but when LaBonge asked how many people took transit to work, only one tenant raised her hand. The parking proposal now goes to the full City Council for consideration. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more