Berkeley wants to do away with parking minimums for more housing

The City of Berkeley has moved ahead with a decision that could combat the housing shortage and climate change at the same time.

In an unusual move, Berkeley wants to cap the number of parking spaces at new buildings around the city. 

For years, developers were required to provide one parking space for every residential unit. But Berkeley Vice Mayor Lori Droste has been pushing for years to end the ordinance.

Darnell Grisby with Transform, a nonprofit organization that promotes walkable communities and public transportation, said many of the parking spots sit empty.
"Almost a third of those parking spaces will go unused. This is especially true near transit and much of Berkeley is already very well served by public transportation," Grisby said. 
City leaders said it may also encourage the development of more housing in place of parking. And Mayor Jesse Arreguin said it could combat climate change.
"We know that transportation accounts for 60% of our greenhouse gas emissions in the City of Berkeley," said Arreguin. We can get people out of their cars and we can reduce our impact of global warming."
Deemphasizing is a top priority, along with pushing for the use of public transportation on the part of developers.
"Provide onsite secure bike parking, so rather than car parking they’ll provide parking for bikes. They’re required to have information and access to transit services. You need to have either billboards or signs showing what the nearest bus routes are for when they’re coming," said Ben Gould with Berkeley Neighbors for Housing and Climate Action.
Developers would also be required to provide access to bike share programs or passes for AC Transit busses and BART.
"We could see some ridership go up. There could be barriers reduced to living in these places if you don’t have a car. So it’s a good thing I think for transportation and again for the environment," said Rebecca Saltzman, Vice President of Board of Directors.
New developments would also unbundle parking, which means those who do not want parking won't have to pay for it.
The move does not take away any parking currently in Berkeley.
The proposal will go back before the council next month.