Off-Street Parking Reform Advances to the Board of Supervisors

At 8th and Market, a luxury housing development includes onsite parking despite a close proximity to Civic Center BART Station.

In March, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors declared a Climate Emergency, calling for “immediate and accelerated action to address the climate crisis.”

As the City’s climate technical report points out, a sustainable transportation mode shift – shifting trips from automobiles to walking, cycling, and public transportation – is the most effective local climate leverage point. Private cars and light trucks are the largest source of carbon emissions in San Francisco and California. Despite progress in many areas, transportation-related emissions continue to rise, threatening to undo California’s progress towards its climate protection goals.

The City’s goal is to increase the percentage of person-trips using sustainable transportation modes – walking, cycling, and public transit – from the current 54% to 80% by 2030.

Evidence compiled for the Planning Department shows that reducing the amount of parking in buildings is one of the most effective strategies for encouraging a shift to sustainable modes of transportation, reducing auto traffic and pollution, reducing the cost of housing, making our streets greener and safer for walking and biking, and meeting our climate protection goals. Last year, the Board of Supervisors took the historic step of eliminating minimum parking requirements citywide.

Supervisor Mandelman’s parking reform ordinance will reform San Francisco’s off-street parking policies to advance our City’s mobility, environmental, equity, and affordability goals. It amends the Planning Code’s off-street parking maximums, parking standards, and freight-loading requirements to:

  • Lower the maximum amount of parking permitted in new buildings in the City’s densest and most transit-served neighborhoods, including the Market, Mission, Valencia, and Van Ness corridors, along the City’s light rail and rapid bus corridors, and Downtown and SoMa.
  • Require new above-ground parking for four or more cars to be built for easy conversion to other uses in the future.
  • Requires accessible sidewalks and curbs on adjacent streets when new public or private parking lots are approved.
  • Restrict new driveways along Valencia Street, and new parking lots along Market Street.

The Planning Commission recommended the ordinance on October 17. The next step is the board of Supervisors, who will hear the ordinance before the end of the year. Let your supervisor know you support parking reform for a more sustainable, equitable, affordable and healthy San Francisco. You can find contact info for the Board of Supervisors on our advocacy page.