San Jose studies inverting incentives for driving vs. sustainable transportation

This Friday, San Jose City Council is having a study session on parking standards and “transportation demand management.” The policy changes would overturn longstanding policies that had the outcome of encouraging driving, traffic and pollution. City Council will be voting on the policies this fall.

San Jose has had high parking requirements for years that require more space for parking than for buildings. This creates an environment where it is unfriendly and unsafe to walk, and makes housing more expensive for parking spaces that often go unused.

Instead of requiring parking, the city will require a menu of measures that encourage people to use transit, walk, bike, and telecommute. The specific requirements will be based on the location of the building; in more walkable and transit-friendly places, less driving will be expected. Developers will still be able to provide parking, but will be allowed to provide as much as they believe the building will need.

The presentation is here, The city describes the policy in more detail here, and Greenbelt Alliance has an excellent primer on the benefits here.

The meeting will go from 9am-12pm (agenda), but public comment starts at 11am. You can attend either remotely (zoom link) or in person in the city council chambers. This is a good opportunity to share your thoughts about these policies to change the city’s incentives to encourage less driving and more sustainable transportation.