As first major town in the U.S. San Francisco removed the requirements for new buildings to have off-street parking spaces. Up to now developers had to plan a certain number of garage spaces for parking, now this requirement is lifted.
The most important reason is of course the dire state of available housing, which has led in San Francisco and the whole Bay Area to sky-high rents. Fewer and fewer people, who do not work in high paying tech jobs, can’t afford living in San Francisco and have to live far outside the city, often with a two to three hour commute.
That leads to the paradox that even more commuters need cars, reinforcing the parking problems and contributing to the environmental pollution. Ordinances for off-street parking also contribute to increase house prices. Those increase between 15 to 15 percent, which leads to fewer people able to afford living in San Francisco.
Calculations to the use of shared mobility and robotaxi services showed that cities only need between 10 and 30 percent of today’s cars, covering the whole mileage driven today. The freed-up parking spaces, of which each costs on average between 20,000 to 30,000 dollars, could be used for other purposes and make cities more livable.
Another good reason why city officials feel comfortable of removing this ordinance is the foreseeable availability of a new service: self-driving taxis. Google-sister Waymo announced today the launch of the world’s first robotaxi-service in Phoenix in Arizona, and plans to launch that service in the first half of 2019 in San Francisco and Mountain View as well.
This article was also published in German.