There are few better ways to encourage driving, traffic and pollution than to build parking. After all, parking is necessary for driving. Without a place to park, having a car would be a sick joke, like it is in much of New York City.
It seems that the desire to go green in LA hasn't percolated down to the city's esoteric off-street parking requirements. You can look at them here (p. 2).
The zones that allow the construction of apartments (like R1.5, and R2-R5) all require 1 space per unit for apartments with fewer than 3 bedrooms, 1.5 spaces each for 3 bedroom units, and 2 spaces each for units with 4 or more habitable rooms.
Building off-street parking is massively expensive. It can easily exceed $20,000 per space in a structure, which adds to our city's woeful lack of affordable housing. Usually, the spaces are bundled in with the rent, sticking people with the cost whether they use them or not. This encourages people to own and use cars, adding to traffic and sapping transit ridership.
It could also be contributing to a lack of larger apartments, the kind that could get families to seriously consider city life. Consider the rule above. To build an apartment building with 30 two-bedroom units, you need to provide 30 off-street spaces. To build an apartment building with 30 three-bedroom units, you need to provide 45 off-street spaces.
What would you do? I hate to sound like a Republican, but these big government regulations are a serious problem.
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