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News Release: Urban Land Institute Experts Share Parking Strategies For a Thriving, Sustainable City with San José Planning Commission

Modernizing parking policies can help City achieve goals for emission reduction, traffic management, housing affordability, business retention, and more

Post Date:01/31/2020 11:25 AM

For Immediate Release

Cheryl Wessling, Public Information Manager
Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement

Colin Heyne, Public Information Manager
Department of Transportation

 San José, Calif. – San José, the Bay Area’s largest city, is embarking on reevaluating its parking policies — including how much parking should be required from developers of new projects; how the underlying costs of parking construction affect project affordability; and efficient use of the City’s existing and proposed parking resources. The effort is being jointly led by the City’s Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement (PBCE) and Department of Transportation (DOT).

“We know that currently our parking requirements for development proposals are not necessarily in step with other community goals such as housing affordability, reducing emissions, and designing walkable neighborhoods,” said PBCE Director Rosalynn Hughey. “To get us started on a parking evaluation, and through our partnership with the Urban Land Institute (ULI), we’ve invited technical experts to meet with us.”

“Working with ULI and other partners will help us update the City’s parking and transportation management ordinance,” said John Ristow, Director of Transportation. “As we begin using our limited street space for more biking, walking, and other low-carbon transportation options, changing our parking requirements will likely be a key strategy to achieving the transportation, sustainability, and quality-of-life goals outlined in our Envision 2040 General Plan and Climate Smart plan.”

With regard to the City’s Climate Smart Plan, Kerrie Romanow, Environmental Services Director and Chief Sustainability Officer, said, “Vehicles are the source of roughly 60 percent of San José’s greenhouse-gas emissions, so clearly using parking policies as tools to reduce driving is going to a be a key part of our Climate Smart strategy.”

San José’s partnership with ULI  is grant-funded by San José’s participation in the American Cities Climate Challenge, which enables participating cities to obtain cutting edge assistance on efforts that promote a sustainable future.

On January 27-28, an eight-member ULI panel visited San José for a comprehensive session on parking management. The panel observed parking conditions in some of San José’s neighborhoods, and met with City staff and various community members, including local developers, advocates, and neighborhood representatives.

At a study session with the San José Planning Commission on January 29, the panel presented their preliminary insights. ULI Panel Chair Rick Dishnica, President,The Dishnica Company, opened the panel’s presentation. “In a large, geographically diverse city like San José, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to parking,” said Dishnica. “This means flexibility and adaptability are a key part of how we recommend you approach your parking strategies.”

The ULI panel discussed the dynamics of parking; the experience of the City of Oakland in eliminating minimum requirements for parking; considerations for attracting and maintaining commercial and retail developments; how to address issues of mobility, equity, and affordable housing; and the need for strong community engagement to inform policy changes. ULI will deliver a more detailed written report to the City in the next few months.

“We welcome the insights of the ULI panel experts on an innovative, sustainable approach to our parking policies,” said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. “It is imperative that on behalf of our residents and business community, we find cost-effective parking solutions while progressing to our climate and development growth goals.”

“We really need to evaluate the costs and impacts of on-street parking if we want to be a city that thrives in the future; our city should be designed for people nor cars,” said Planning Commission Chair Shiloh Ballard. “On behalf of our commission, I want to thank the ULI technical panel for sharing their expertise with us, and for their impending detailed report as well.”

About the Urban Land Institute and the Panel on Parking Management

The Urban Land Institute, or ULI, is a nonprofit research and education organization with a network of cross-disciplinary real estate and land use experts. Its stated mission is "to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide." Learn more at The panel that is working with the City of San José on parking management policy includes:  

 About the City of San José

With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States and is Northern California’s largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José’s transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City’s anticipated growth through the year 2040.

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