For those who favor retaining parking minimums: We should set bathtub minimums for new housing. After all, many people like a nice bath, and surely if we do not mandate this, nobody will have a bathtub.
What’s that you say, this sounds silly? Of course it is. Precisely because many people like baths, businesses that build apartments provide plenty of units with bathtubs. If we set a bathtub minimum, that would be telling a low-income renter who needs to save money that it is illegal to provide an efficient studio unit that just has a shower — which might mean that renter can’t afford to live here at all, and instead becomes yet another super-commuter, driving in from three hours away, adding congestion and GHG emissions.
The same logic applies to parking. Builders know that many of their renters will want parking, so they build as much as they think the market will demand. Parking minimums are the government intervening and saying, “No, you must build MORE than the market demands!” This is a tax on those who want to drive less, to subsidize those who drive more. It makes our traffic and climate problems worse.
Demographic studies of the people moving into new apartments near transit along El Camino show only about 0.8 cars per bedroom. And that’s with those apartments being over-provisioned with parking. There’s no reason to keep wasting valuable land on asphalt. We need affordable housing for humans, not cars.