Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Low Cost Housing for Laguna

Laguna Canyon Nada
Good news for car owners, soon you won't need one. In San Diego's Little Italy a new development has eliminated parking requirements in order to encourage car-free living and reduce the cost of rents.

In WSJ Ester Fong's endeavor to show both sides of the argument she is very successful, so thorough we completely loose the purpose for building low-cost housing. Rather we take the parking-brawl outside for a street-fight in the Commentary section because when it comes to urban planning, everybody is an expert.

So far 61 experts wrote commentary because every writer knows their piece of the elephant. Some writers remark how such a lefty progressive idea couldn't possibly work in Houston, others write how relaxing parking requirements failed in Portland. Yet others say let market forces determine housing densities so "keep-a you hands off my kaaa".  If free-market forces are such a good thing, why does Laguna suffer under the summer traffic congestion it experiences now? Maybe existing regulations and free-market forces - the availability of cars-on-the-cheap have something to do with it. In 2013 a quarter of US renters spent half their monthly income on housing made less affordable due to parking requirements.

Commentary can be misleading. The statements following Fong's piece distract the reader from the central idea: how relaxing parking regulations benefit affordable housing. If Ester Fong combined Complete Streets Policy with urban planning, then a community of low-cost housing connected by transportation free of parking costs would emerge.  Low cost housing development is sorely needed by the art community in Laguna Beach, in neighborhoods long ignored. 

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