Why Los Angeles Urban Planners Are Wrong to Restrict Parking

ParkingJust before the backers of the anti-development Neighborhood Integrity Initiative submitted more than enough signatures to put the measure before the voters, they met with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

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If the city would come up with its own plan to limit oversized developments, the group said, they would not go forward with the initiative.

Mayor Garcetti made a concession. He offered to notify the public of closed-door meetings between city officials and developers.

That wasn’t nearly enough for the initiative backers, who think closed-door meetings should be banned altogether, and it’s hard to argue with that.

Demolition of the buildings on the historic former Rocketdyne site in Canoga Park is now underway in preparation for what the developer is calling a “sustainable urban village” of about 4,000 housing units. As recently as June, City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield addressed public concerns about an excessively large development at the site by saying, “nothing has been submitted to the city for this location.”

Has Councilmember Blumenfield or other city officials held closed-door meetings with the developer or lobbyists and consultants about the Rocketdyne site? The public lacks even the right to know.

The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative is aimed at stopping the out-of-control “spot zoning” that allows oversized developments to be approved in places where they otherwise would be prohibited.

One purpose of zoning and community plans is to provide consistency over time, so that when people buy property, whether for a home or business, they know what they’re buying. A home on a quiet street of single-family residences won’t suddenly have a strip mall or hotel as a next-door neighbor.

“Spot zoning” to allow more height and density can have an extremely negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, especially if the minimum requirements for parking are waived. And this is increasingly what some urban planners are recommending.

Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA and author of the influential 2005 book, “The High Cost of Free Parking,” says “minimum parking requirements subsidize cars, increase traffic congestion and carbon emissions, pollute the air and water, encourage sprawl, raise housing costs, exclude poor people, degrade urban design, reduce walkability and damage the economy.”

But eliminating minimum parking requirements risks turning neighboring residential streets into a scene that resembles the parking lot of Dodger Stadium when the Giants are in town.

Housing policy in California has discouraged the development of new single-family houses in outlying areas in favor of what planners call “infill,” the construction of high-density housing on vacant land in built-up areas. State law also speeds approval of “transit-oriented development,” mega-projects located within a half-mile of a train station or a bus stop with frequent service during peak hours.

Urban planners have a vision that …

Click here to read the full story from the Daily News


  1. The nation, and CA particularly, has been listening to the Urban Planners and their cheering-section in the Environmental Movement, for four-decades (or longer). What we have today is the result of their “urban planning”, and they find it disappointing so it must be made even more People Unfriendly.
    After WW-2, millions of people moved here (led by the GI’s that embarked for war through our ports, and returned home to tell their families about “paradise”) because CA was not New England, it wasn’t New York or New Jersey, and it certainly isn’t Chicago or the Upper Mid-West. Urban Planners have as their mission to transform the CA that was, to the urban disasters that we see in the East and Mid-West.
    No Thanks!

  2. Donald Shoup says

    Planners in Los Angeles do not restrict parking. Instead, they require parking everywhere. Los Angeles has minimum parking requirements for every kind of building. How can anyone say that parking requirements restrict parking?

  3. Ever tried to find a parking space? Yep, I didn’t you did. There IS no free parking in Los Angeles that I ever found. Urban density = high crime in just a short time span.

  4. upChuck Liberals says

    “Canoga Park is now underway in preparation for what the developer is calling a “sustainable urban village” of about 4,000 housing units.” So, they have their own water supply, their own sewage treatment, their own electrical supply, their own farmland? What a LOAD OF CROCK. This is like the greenies protesting oil and natural gas by driving their SUV’s and using their plastic kayaks as they wear all ‘natural’ polyester performance tee shirts.

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