June 10, 2021 /AB 1401 is designated by Livable California as one of the 7 Bad Bills of 2021. Here’s what it does:

A sleeper bill, AB 1401 would prohibit city governments from requiring off-street parking in almost all new commercial or residential projects within ½ mile of a transit station, or of a “high-quality transit line” that stops at least every 15 minutes during rush hours.

AB 1401 was approved by a split vote in the state Assembly on June 2, 2021 and is now in the state Senate where it will be soon be heard by committees and then voted on by the Senate floor.

Contact your state Senator now, and urge the senator to review the problems below, and strongly oppose AB 1401.

  • Under AB 1401, cities can’t require parking in new developments unless the building is more than a ½ mile walk to transit. Walking many blocks to use a bus is highly unrealistic for young children, people with limited mobility such as the elderly, those who take equipment to job sites, parents who deliver children to school, those who juggle work and school, and those who commute to distant domestic jobs.
  • Areas with limited street parking will see worse congestion and air pollution if parking is severely reduced. In areas that can afford to hire cars, a surge in use of Uber and Lyft will follow. This possible outcome puts in doubt the claim that AB1401 will reduce greenhouse gases and help the environment.
  • AB 1401 creates an economic barrier to affording a car, yet a car is among the strongest tools families use to escape poverty. Urban Geography, The Automobile, Immigrants and Poverty (2010), reports that, “The automobile is a critical factor in moving from welfare to work.” Research since 2010 agrees, including Urban Institute, Driving to Opportunity (2014); and extensive work by UCLA’s Evelyn Blumenberg, director of Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies: Car Access and Long-Term Poverty Exposure (2017) and The Drive to Work: the Relationship Between Transportation Access, Housing Assistance and Employment (2017).
  • AB 1401 favors large online retailers, but harms mom-and-pop storefronts and restaurants, by making in-person shopping more difficult. These are the little guy businesses who make many communities livable.
  • Developers aren’t required to obey AB 1401, and one study strongly suggests that developers will not tap this bill. Because if developers do severely reduce their parking, their buildings will be harder to fill — or sell.
  • With Californians switching to electric cars, this bill fails in its attempt to address how and where the charging stations will be provided in buildings without parking garages.