A recent study of Downtown housing options shows that--surprise, surprise--it's cheaper to provide housing if you don't have to also provide on-site parking for every unit. And because it's cheaper to build, developers are more likely to provide more, less expensive housing. The study comes from Michael Manville at UCLA, who looked at housing units built under LA's Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, which allows developers to adapt old commercial buildings for residential uses . The key thing here is that it also allows them to not provide any additional parking, though they can't remove existing spaces (new buildings Downtown are generally required to provide at least one parking space per residential unit). It was the ordinance that helped spur the massive Old Bank District makeover, in part, Manville says, because it attracted different kinds of residents.
He explains that there were "more units built, but these units were constructed in buildings and neighborhoods that had long been stagnant and underused. Further, a number of these buildings unbundled parking from rent, allowing them to target an underserved demographic--people without cars--and offer a lower-priced housing product."
Though Manville's study focused only on Downtown, the idea of "unbundling" parking spaces from apartment leases is catching on further west. When the Planning Commission approved the huge Casden West LA project, one of the conditions was to unbundle the parking at the Expo Line-adjacent development.
· Parking requirements as a barrier to housing development: regulation and reform in Los Angeles (pdf) [UCLA]
· Adaptive Reuse Archives [Curbed LA]