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Urban planners want LA’s motto to be ‘No Parking Any Time’

September 3, 2016

By Susan Shelley : daileynews – excerpt

Just before the backers of the anti-development Neighborhood Integrity Initiative submitted more than enough signatures to put the measure before the voters, they met with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

If the city would come up with its own plan to limit oversized developments, the group said, they would not go forward with the initiative.

Mayor Garcetti made a concession. He offered to notify the public of closed-door meetings between city officials and developers.

Is this what Prop M is trying to do? Create a method to bring the public into the preapplication project meetings in the beginning stages of the development plans?

That wasn’t nearly enough for the initiative backers, who think closed-door meetings should be banned altogether, and it’s hard to argue with that…

The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative is aimed at stopping the out-of-control “spot zoning” that allows oversized developments to be approved in places where they otherwise would be prohibited.

One purpose of zoning and community plans is to provide consistency over time, so that when people buy property, whether for a home or business, they know what they’re buying. A home on a quiet street of single-family residences won’t suddenly have a strip mall or hotel as a next-door neighbor.

“Spot zoning” to allow more height and density can have an extremely negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, especially if the minimum requirements for parking are waived. And this is increasingly what some urban planners are recommending.

Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA and author of the influential 2005 book, “The High Cost of Free Parking,” says “minimum parking requirements subsidize cars, increase traffic congestion and carbon emissions, pollute the air and water, encourage sprawl, raise housing costs, exclude poor people, degrade urban design, reduce walkability and damage the economy.”

But eliminating minimum parking requirements risks turning neighboring residential streets into a scene that resembles the parking lot of Dodger Stadium when the Giants are in town… (more)

Shoup’s ideas of how humans behave is not panning out in San Francisco. Instead of decreasing car use and increasing Muni ridership, the opposite is happening. A lot of people who work in San Francisco no longer living here, and that adds to the regional commuters. The high rents and stress from dealing with traffic and parking conditions are keeping people at home, and that is having a negative effect on the local economy.

The constant public construction projects are sucking talent out of the private sector. The economy to too hot and many people are getting burned by it. The Federal and State governments may be trying to cool it down by cutting off funding. If voters are smart they will do the same by voting against the sales tax and bonds.

The controller indicated that passage of a higher sales tax will lead to a net loss of jobs, as people cut spending. Adding public jobs to spend the new windfall will leads us into a spiral of debt.

The Mayor of Palo Alto came out with a suggestion that we have enough tech jobs and it is time for other cities to “share” the tech wealth. I second that recommendation.

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