One of the bills CalBike is sponsoring, AB 3153 (Rivas), seeks to alleviate two problems: housing affordability and last mile transportation. The bill allows developers to build fewer car parking spots than the minimum required by local planning regulations if they replace the car parking spaces with bike parking spots. The bill also allows developers to replace required car parking spaces with car sharing spaces. It is written to ensure that stronger local bike parking requirements will still apply.
This bill is an important step forward. It’s one of many we need to develop the housing stock we need with the urban density to make car-free transportation a viable option.
Parking minimums and affordability
In the discussion of solutions to California’s housing crisis, the role of car parking gets too little attention. Many cities have minimum parking requirements for new buildings. Each unit of housing must also include a unit of car storage. This adds to the expense of the project and drives up the cost of housing. When units are sold or rented with parking, residents who don’t own cars are forced to pay for extra space they don’t need. Parking construction and especially parking minimums are another more way we embed car culture into our built environment.
AB 3153 makes it easier to get around by bike
AB 3153 will increase the amount of secure bike parking available in new buildings. It’s especially important where cities have no minimum bike parking requirements. If you don’t have a safe space to store a bike, a bike is a risky investment. If your only secure choice is to carry your bike up stairs into your apartment, you may have to forego the option of using a bike for transportation in your community. Since bicycle parking spots are much cheaper to build than car parking spots, AB 3153 will reduce building costs while supporting green transportation. It’s a win for affordable housing and a win for affordable transportation.
California can’t wait till the pandemic passes to deal with its housing shortage. That’s why the bill’s author chose to keep this bill alive despite the pressure to reduce the number of bills moving forward.
While many of the bills that were introduced in this session have been tabled because of the need to focus on solutions to the coronavirus crisis, AB 3153 will have its first hearing soon. CalBike will follow it every step of the way and advocate to keep it strong. The AB 3153 fact sheet has more information.