City Council votes to eliminate parking minimums for commercial areas
Published - 11/17/21 - 07:15 AM | 1503 views | 3 3 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The City Council on Nov. 16 unanimously approved a change to the municipal code that eliminates parking space minimum requirements for many businesses. Starting Jan. 1, 2022, commercial tenants and building owners in transit priority areas and commercial neighborhoods citywide will have the option to either provide as much parking as their customers need, or use those spaces for other needs, like outdoor dining or creating outdoor spaces. 

Previously, businesses in these areas were required to provide a certain number of parking spaces, which adds significant costs – up to $25,000 for installation and maintenance per parking stall – and can lead to an oversupply of parking spaces in the city. Minimum parking regulations also made it harder for businesses to adapt to changing transportation and economic trends and encouraged more driving, further contributing to climate pollution.  

“Eliminating parking minimums for local businesses is yet another step in our movement to make San Diego neighborhoods more walkable, bikeable, accessible and sustainable. It also benefits our small businesses financially, allowing them to invest their money more strategically,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “I’m pleased that the City Council has approved this parking policy reform, and I look forward to seeing its transformative impacts on our neighborhoods and businesses.”   

This new policy supports the City of San Diego in achieving its greenhouse gas emissions reduction set forth in the Climate Action Plan. Focusing neighborhoods around people, instead of cars, creates more safe, walkable spaces and shopping districts.  

The removal of parking minimums also means businesses will no longer be prevented from starting a new enterprise because their building doesn’t have enough parking. The City joins only a handful of other cities nationwide that have implemented parking reforms for both residential and non-residential uses. 

The parking policy update builds on: 

  • Residential parking update: In 2019, the City removed parking requirements for multifamily residential developments in transit priority areas, and required transportation amenities to increase mobility and reduce housing costs. 

  • Complete Communities (Mobility Choices): In 2020, the City approved a program that will prioritize urban, infill development, while bringing in new funding for biking, walking and transit infrastructure in San Diego, with at least half of those funds invested in the City’s historically underserved communities. 

  • General Plan: The City of Villages Strategy is aimed at creating more affordable housing options near employment centers and developing a balanced, multimodal transportation network that will provide more sustainable options for people to get around. 

  • Our Climate, Our Future: The City of San Diego is currently refining its vision for climate action in San Diego through an update to its landmark 2015 Climate Action Plan that will elevate equity and economic opportunity while working toward net zero carbon emissions by 2035. 


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