Date of Award

6-2013

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning

Department

City and Regional Planning

Advisor

Cornelius Nuworsoo

Abstract

This study examines the state of off-street parking in the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan (CASP) area of the City of Los Angeles. The focus is on discovering relevant strategies to strengthen the plans ability to reduce parking supply and demand.

Research has shown a causal relationship between planning policies and the oversupply of parking. An auto-centric approach to land use and urban form creates societal problems such as traffic congestion, air pollution, inflated development costs, and hostile pedestrian landscapes. Further issues that are directly associated with parking include: poor water quality, neighborhood livability, and ambient temperature. Additionally, an overabundance of parking supports increased vehicle miles traveled which is a major source of greenhouse gases. The imbalance between parking supply and demand in the City of Los Angeles has resulted in large tracts of land that are paved over by parking lots instead of more valuable land uses. A thorough assessment of the opportunities to improve the state of parking in the Los Angeles CASP area is needed.

The (qualitative) research consisted of a review of secondary data such as the Los Angeles General Plan, the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC), the best practices of Pasadena, Santa Monica and an exposé of scholarly parking theory. The primary (quantitative) data collection methods in this study comprised an aerial survey and a field survey. The results show that half of the major land uses in the area never reach optimal occupancy.

A careful evaluation of the CASP revealed that it does institute several progressive parking policies that are more stringent than the LAMC, namely being the first plan in the city that does not include parking requirements. However there are a number of relevant parking management strategies which could serve to further strengthen the CASP.

The Specific Plan does not mandate employers to provide transit passes or parking cash-outs. Providing Eco Passes can yield benefits for developers, property owners, employers, commuters, transit agencies, and cities. Another way to reduce parking demand and parking requirements is to offer commuters the option to “cash out” their employer-paid parking. Both transit passes and parking cash-out are cost effective because it is much cheaper to pay for a transit ride to and from work than to pay for a free parking space at work. These two strategies have potential to add another dimension to demand management, civic viability and contribute to the paradigm shift that is needed to mitigate our environmental impact.