San Diego

City of San Diego Gets Rid of Parking Requirements for Businesses; Community Reacts

The decision to eliminate parking for businesses in transit priority areas and commercial neighborhoods has mixed reactions from the community

NBC Universal, Inc.

The San Diego City Council voted Tuesday to eliminate parking requirements for businesses located in transit priority areas and commercial neighborhoods. The decision would allow existing businesses to use their parking spots for things like more dining or retail space.

In neighborhoods like North Park, parking is already a controversial topic.

Parking on 30th Street was recently reduced to make room for bike lanes. The decision falls in line with San Diego’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by 2035.

It has mixed reactions among businesses, large and small, and people with disabilities.

Jan Cronin uses a walker and parks in handicapped parking. She has grown up in the North Park area and still visits her elderly mother there.

She now lives in Serra Mesa and thinks the decision by the city council will not be productive.

“You’re never gonna get rid of the cars, people are gonna drive everywhere,” said Cronin.

She believes the change would reduce handicapped parking spots in places where she already struggles to find them. Especially since bike lanes were added to 30th Street removing some parking.

And, she said, that would discourage people from heading out altogether.

 “It’s like a madhouse. I don’t even like to come up for her.”

But at fitness center F45, Gemma Zapata supports the move, because she said, it encourages people to use the new bike lines and ditch their cars. The 30th Street bike lanes have made things even better for her.

“We thoroughly enjoy it. As I said, it’s been very safe not only for our members but our employees. Almost all of us ride our bike, or walk or scooter to work,” said Zapata.

She told NBC 7, the North Park local residents already committed to staying local.

“If we push people to drive. We push people away from the area too and you want to stick to your community and your niche, your area,” said Zapata.

At Bargain Center, owner Joel Dreifuss is one of the few who has his own parking lot and still feels like there just isn't adequate parking for the number of people in the neighborhood.

“I understand the thing about going green and I understand the environment and all that, but it just doesn’t seem the way to go,” said Dreifuss.

He believes the city should instead, be creating more access for people to park their cars, therefore bringing more people to support the businesses.

In a press release, the city said this policy builds on several goals and plans.

“In 2019, the City removed parking requirements for multifamily residential developments in transit priority areas and required transportation amenities to increase mobility and reduce housing costs.”

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