San Jose

Reduced Parking Spaces Proposal in San Jose Gets Mixed Reaction

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Parking is always a hot commodity.

But beginning next week, the city of San Jose will begin outreach on a plan to potentially reduce the number of parking spaces in the city.

Since the 1930's, San Jose has been a city built with cars in mind with plenty of parking spaces to accommodate them.

But now, we live with concerns about rising costs of living, gridlock and climate change.

Justin Wang is with the Greenbelt Alliance, one of the groups that's helping the city of San Jose reach out to residents about a proposal to reduce the number of parking spaces developers are currently required to build into their projects.

Wang said the current costs of building all that parking get passed on to renters or home buyers.

“We need to reframe our mindset and instead of spending millions and millions on parking garages,” he said. “How about we invest in ways to help people get around that are just as effective but are better for greenhouse gas emissions. Better for people's miles traveled.”

Wang said that all those parking spaces incentivize people to buy vehicles and drive more.

So theoretically if you build fewer spaces, people will own fewer cars. That would eventually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It's a theory not everyone agrees with.

“For example, San Jose State is a commuter school. People don't really live around here and go to school here. They drive in from different towns,” said San Jose resident Mike Duong. “So, reducing the parking, not having places to park. It's not going to be easy for a lot of people.”

To be clear, the proposal does not aim to reduce any parking that's currently available.

San Jose does have some limitations like a less developed transportation system, including a light rail system that hasn't been in operation for more than a month.

Still, there are some people who are open to the changes.

“Once the VTA gets back up and running, we have a lot of bike share options, local transit. We use Cal Train pretty frequently,” said San Jose resident Luke Reilly.

The San Jose City Council could make a decision later this year.

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