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LA Developers Scoff at Trading Car Parking for Bike Spots

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Updated 10/22: Some people like to point fingers at the city when big developments are built (or proposed) with massive amounts of car parking, especially when they're in transit-rich areas like Downtown, Hollywood, or Koreatown. But the city is working to reduce parking requirements, even though many developers have not lost their appetite for deep-as-China garages or hideous above-ground parking podiums. Specifically, new rules that went into effect in March force developers to adhere to bike parking minimums, but there's also an incentive to go above the requirement--developers can build more bike parking as a trade-off for building *which allows them to build less (more expensive) car parking. Spots for motorized vehicles can cost $40,000 per space, so more bike spots could mean big savings. "A residential building can reduce up to 10 percent of its auto parking this way," the LA Business Journal reports (sub. req.), while those near transit stations can reduce auto parking by up to 15 percent."

Developer Sonny Astani wasn't pleased about the bike minimums, but was happy to take advantage of the opportunity to build less car parking. His new project at Grand and Twelfth in DTLA will have 740 bike spaces and 595 for cars--that's less than one car spot per unit (there are 640). Many hope the developers' savings are reflected in cheaper rents for residents, but it's too early to see if that's playing out.

Meanwhile, other developers *aren't as eager: two developers building projects in DTLA and Hollywood, Izek Shomof and Townscape Partners, respectively, refused to give up too much car parking for bike parking. Shomof, for example, reduced his required car parking just by meeting the bike minimums, but added more car spots than the reduced number the city then required. "Parking nowadays in downtown LA has become an amenity that a lot of people don't want to pay for," Hamid Behdad, president of consulting firm Central City Development Group, says. But what many people don't understand is that even if your parking is "free," it's just making your rent or mortgage more expensive. And if your building doesn't have parking, there's certainly no shortage of parking lots in places like Downtown.
· Projects Change Gears With Bikes [LABJ, sub. req.]