This article was posted on Saturday, Jan 01, 2022

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed dozens of housing bills into law this year, but one of the most popular among housing experts had little to do with homes for people and a lot to do with homes for cars.

AB 2097

The new law in question, [Assembly Bill No. 2097] does away with certain parking minimums — a frequent demand from local governments when approving a new restaurant or apartment building. Researchers have long argued these mandates add prohibitive costs to development — and stretch out cities, making driving a necessity.

Take affordable housing as an example. A single structured parking spot added nearly $36,000 to the cost of each housing unit funded by state tax credits over the past decade, according to a study last year from the Terner Center at UC Berkeley. 

Supporters argue the new law could eventually translate to more affordable units or, in the case of market rate housing, cheaper rents.

Effective January 1, 2023

Change won’t arrive overnight. The law, penned by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, a Democrat from Burbank, kicks in on Jan. 1, 2023 and only applies to projects within half a mile from a major transit stop. And catering to demand, many developers will likely still opt in to build parking. But the law could inch California closer to meet both its housing and climate goals, its supporters argue.

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One of its loudest cheerleaders is Donald Shoup, an urban planning professor at UCLA who has dedicated his career to making the case for the high cost of free parking, and developed a cult following along the way. is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics. For more information, visit