The Downtown Plan and why all of LB needs to change this direction
Keep in mind that Plans are actively being changed in many areas, not just downtown.
In 2012, the city passed the Downtown Plan which will dramatically increase the number of people in the area, yet the plan also lowered the parking requirements for new buildings. The Downtown Plan did not include a parking plan for residents, employees, or business owners. It was not based upon data that reflects how much parking is actually needed.
Parking requirements for new downtown buildings:
Current downtown requirements = 1 parking space per unit plus .25 spaces per unit for guest parking. The first 6,000 sf of commercial space is exempt from parking. After that, offices require 2 parking spaces per 1,000 sq ft; restaurants and retail require 1 parking space per 1,000 sq ft.
Parking requirements for the rest of the City (also for downtown prior to 2012):
Long Beach parking requirements = 1.5 to 2 parking spaces per unit depending on the bedrooms plus guest parking. Commercial space requires 4 – 5 parking spots per 1,000sf depending on the type, no exemptions.
Downtown’s one space per unit requirement is for any size unit. These developments will usually be high-rises, dramatically increasing the number of residents and business customers in a small area yet not providing enough parking for them. In addition, many of these developments take away lots that are currently being used for parking. These additonal cars will need to park on the street or area lots. There isn’t enough parking in the area for current residents so the effect will be felt for a long distance. The City has refused multiple requests at hearings to build parking structures.
The neighbors of the new developments will pay a high price (and pay it indefinitely) if the City doesn't require the developers to provide enough parking for their residents. Aside from the many dramatic effects to quality of life, inadequate parking causes increased traffic and pollution from drivers circling for long periods to find parking, businesses lose customers, and landlords cannot keep tenants. The City has refused requests to make changes due to the cost. We think the lack of parking will damage our area in ways that will cost a great deal more than making changes now.