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San Francisco Breaks New Ground by Proposing Zero Parking Requirements

The city of San Francisco, California is proposing some innovative policy initiatives, as the city is about the vote to completely remove parking requirements for new housing [1].

Parking numbers in the U.S. (and other parts of the world as well) have in many cases been overestimated due to decades-old old parking rules that have remained unchallenged. A notorious example is Dallas, where during peak parking usage the city still had 30,000 unused spots. While this may be an extreme example, nuances of the same phenomenon are prevalent throughout modern cities across the globe. Furthermore, excessive parking does not only occupy valuable city-space, but it is also expensive to build. A recent analysis showed that 16% of a housing unit’s monthly cost in the U.S. was due to construction expenses of parking spots, on average translated to $142/month [2]. San Francisco now becomes the first major U.S. city to propose to abolish parking requirements altogether.

Still, it is not like parking is going to completely go away; according to recent U.S. census data, only 7% of U.S. households do not own a car. This will according to San Francisco city planners mean neighbourhoods will put pressure on new housing to retain some of their parking spots anyway.


Personal comments

Axing parking requirements is just the latest sign that San Francisco is one of the best cities to develop new mobility solutions in, as this signals another way the city is moving away from incentivizing citizens to own personal cars.

One interesting aspect of this policy shift is to instead of just abolishing parking requirements replace them with mobility requirements. This opens up the possibility for alternative mobility solutions to be part of new housing projects, while offering residents transportation options without the necessity of owning a car, and may yet be significantly cheaper for real estate developers compared to constructing underutilized parking garages.


Written by Darijan Jelica, RISE Viktoria.



1. 2018-11-28. San Francisco prepares to be the first major city to nix parking requirements.

2. 2017-07-18. If you’re renting a US city apartment without a car, 16% of your rent pays for parking you don’t need.