The Los Angeles Department of City Planning announced Thursday a proposal to expand housing opportunities in the city's downtown area while supporting business activity by proposing to eliminate minimum parking requirements for new downtown developments.
The Downtown Community Plan would nearly double the land area where housing is currently permitted, and encourage developers to produce more mixed-use facilities, planning officials said.
"For decades, we've prioritized shelter for cars over people by requiring parking minimums in downtown," said Director of City Planning Vince Bertoni. "All of that changes today with the new policies that we've laid out in this plan. We're removing onerous regulatory requirements that have either slowed or impeded development, unlocking in the process the potential for new housing and jobs."
City Planning estimates that by 2040, Los Angeles's downtown will see an increase of 125,000 new residents and 55,000 new jobs, representing 20% of the city's estimated population growth in 1% of its land area. The recommendation to eliminate parking minimums for new development could accelerate housing construction and reduce the number of cars on the road, officials stated.
The department stated that bike-share, localized bus services, shuttles and scooters offer faster and more convenient and affordable alternatives to paying for parking.
"Eliminating required parking minimums is an exciting step toward linking people-centered development and mobility,'' said Hilary Norton, the executive director of the nonprofit transportation management organization FASTLinkDTLA. Norton was recently appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to the California Transportation Commission.
"With mobility technology innovations happening every day and future rail and a downtown streetcar planned ... eliminating parking minimums puts downtown's focus toward using existing parking more efficiently, creating a vibrant public realm and investing in a multi-modal ecosystem that shifts us away from driving alone."
City Planning said the proposal will also address statewide goals on climate change by adhering to more sustainable policies.
"Focusing future development in the centermost portion of the city will reduce development pressures in the outlying areas of the city, including ecologically sensitive areas," the department stated. "In addition to reducing commute times and traffic on the roadways, infill development is an important tool for ombating climate change. It promotes a healthier economy and a cleaner environment, and often creates additional opportunities for affordable housing."
City Planning said it will host information sessions in November to offer people time to review the proposed policies and provide additional feedback.
Staff will begin review comments in 2020, prior to advancing the final plan to the City Planning Commission for consideration.