Monday, March 10, 2008

LA Times Looks at Rental Prices in LA

An LA Times article highlights one of the reasons so many working class people live outside of LA even if that means a 2-hour commute each way:
One reason housing prices are so high is a requirement that newly built multiunit dwellings (and condo conversions) provide at least one -- usually two or three -- parking space per unit. This inflates the cost of each apartment and discourages construction of smaller, more affordable units because developers would be required to provide even more parking.

"The fixation on parking in Los Angeles has driven up the price of housing and increased congestion on our streets," said Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA. He said including two spaces with a unit can add about $45,000 to construction costs.

One solution would be to waive the parking requirement for smaller apartments, thus creating an incentive for developers to place more such units on the market. And because there'd be no parking cost built into the rent, such units would (in theory) be cheaper than apartments that come with extra room for vehicles.

This could have the added benefit of increasing demand for public transportation -- presuming, that is, people would trade car ownership for reduced rent. Increased demand would hopefully spur development of commuter-friendly projects like a long-delayed Westside subway line.

One issue that is missing from MetroRiderLA's "Reasons to Live a Transit Oriented Life" survey is "Because parking a car in L.A. blows!" That is definitely another reason I prefer to walk or bike places-- I get to avoid the utter frustration of searching for a parking space, which is probably almost (or even more) stressful than sitting in traffic.

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