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Revisions to Vehicle and Bicycle Parking Requirements

Photo of an empty parking lot


Sacramento has taken many actions to accelerate the production of housing and to address the housing issues of current residents. The City is now embarking on this effort to rethinking parking mandates given the high cost of building parking and to consider capping the number of parking spaces in some areas, encourage more housing production, and lower the cost of new housing. 

This project will also look at bicycle parking requirements that the City imposes on new development projects. The project will identify ideal bicycle parking requirements for diverse types of projects, including the number of bike parking spaces, types of spaces (long and short-term), and bike rack design and placement standards. The City wants to increase bicycling citywide to meet its goals for equity, reduced vehicle miles traveled, and greenhouse gas reductions. See locations of public and private bicycle racks and bike lockers.


Sacramento City Council directed staff on January 19, 2021, to end City-mandated parking minimums citywide and introduce parking maximums, The City released public drafts of the General Plan Update and Climate Action and Adaptation Plan in April 2023 that include policies and actions that support this work.

The City Council approved the 2021-2029 Housing Element in late 2021. The Housing Element notes that with Sacramento seeing some of the highest increases in rent in recent years and home prices continuing to rise, the city is facing multiple unprecedented housing crises. Thousands of people do not have shelter. Thousands more are severely cost-burdened, spending 50% or more of their income on housing. Many people are also paying so much in rent that they cannot save a down payment to buy a home. As housing becomes less affordable and the supply of housing continues to not meet demand, it is becoming harder for residents, especially low- and middle-income families and individuals, to afford housing. 

The Housing Element includes and implementation program that includes this project (see Program H8 here). Revisions to Parking Requirements specify that the City shall consider further eliminating City-mandated parking minimums and explore instituting parking maximums along established transit corridors.

Program H8 aims to implement Policy H-1.4 (Facilitate Infill Housing Development) by increasing the financial feasibility of residential development by allowing builders to use more of the site for housing. Policy H-1.4 (Facilitate Infill Housing Development) specifies that the City shall facilitate infill housing along commercial corridors, near employment centers, near high-frequency transit areas, and in all zones that allow residential development as a way to revitalize commercial corridors, promote walkability and increased transit ridership, and provide increased housing options.

What will this parking project do? 

Through this project, the City will try to answer questions such as:

  • Does requiring parking increase housing rents or sales prices? 
  • Does making builders supply parking mean we get less housing? 
  • Will builders still choose to supply parking if the City does not require them to do so? 
  • Should the City mandate parking in some neighborhoods but not others? 
  • If the City sets a maximum number of parking spaces that builders can supply, how will that affect new businesses and new housing developments projects? 
  • What are some new and innovative ways the City can manage the parking already built? 
  • How much and what kind of bicycle parking should the City require for new development projects?
  • How do minimum/maximum mandates influence a builder's choice of housing unit sizes? 
  • How should parking mandates relate to Transportation Demand Management (TDM) requirements? 
  • How does the provision and management of parking support, or not support, the City's mobility and sustainability goals? 
  • How should Sacramento manage parking differently for employees, visitors, customers, or residents? What is working well and what needs improvement? 

The project team will collet and analyze data, gather research, talk with people in many neighborhoods, and potentially propose changes to how we regulate and manage vehicle and bicycle parking. The City kicked off the Project in July 2023 and expects to complete the project in the fall of 2024. The project team will post opportunities for public involvement to this site when scheduled, with notices also shared through the project lists, which you can sign up for below.


Current parking mandates and updates

The City revised car parking mandates multiple times in recent years to encourage infill and housing development. See the A Short History of Sacramento's Parking Mandates memo

In 2013, the City made major changes to parking mandates for the first time in decades by eliminating all minimum vehicle parking requirements in the "Central Business District and Arts & Entertainment District" and ending parking minimums for non-residential projects: 

  • on lots 6,400 square-feet or less
  • for vertical mixed-use projects that have more than 50% of the building's square footage devoted to residential uses
  • for historic buildings converted to residential uses

The City also created a process that allows project applicants to potentially waive up to 75% of their required parking. 

The City removed minimum parking mandates within 1/4 mile of existing and proposed light rail stations in 2019. Those areas were nine percent of the total land are in the city. 

In January 2023, Assembly Bill (AB) 2097 went into effect. The State law does not allow Sacramento to mandate minimum parking numbers or ratios within 1/2 mile of what the State defines as a "major transit stop". These areas are forty-four percent of the city. See the AB 2097 parking layer here, The City can mandate minimum parking in fifty-six percent of Sacramento today.


Get involved!

The City is engaging in a robust engagement campaign on many levels including stakeholders from builders and developers to community organizations, neighborhood groups, and residents. There will be an educational campaign that includes communication collateral, focus group meetings and community conversations. Sign up to receive meeting notifications and other updates on the Revisions to Vehicle and Bicycle Parking Requirements project. 


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Your valuable feedback will help to inform thi study's final recommendations. If you have any questions or comments about this project, you can email the project team here.

Revisions to Vehicle and Bicycle Parking Requirements