(BCN) — What if the future of affordable housing meant creating “walkable” communities? One advocacy group is pushing for just that, and they are setting their sights on parking lots.

TransForm, a Bay Area housing advocacy organization that promotes walkable communities, held a webinar Wednesday to discuss new initiatives.

The webinar, entitled “Parking Revolution/Housing Solution: Bay Area,” focused on how a lack of housing and the amount of space parking lots take up in cities are closely linked.

“We knew having parking would have reduced the number of housing units we could build,” said Sam Moss of the Mission Housing Development Corporation, which developed the Kapuso at the Upper Yard affordable housing development in the Mission District in San Francisco.

“It could be a soul crushing experience trying to convince someone that doesn’t want affordable housing to build it,” he added, speaking on the difficulties of building in the city.

Advocates at the webinar pointed to the Kapuso development — a 130-unit complex which had its grand opening last month and doesn’t have a dedicated parking lot — as an example of how to move toward walkable communities in San Francisco and around the Bay Area. The housing development itself was built on a former parking lot.

“We are here today because we know the Bay Area is not an affordable place to live,” said policy director for TransForm Zack Deutsch-Gross.
The group focused on ways advocates for new housing could reach out to local officials to ensure they are meeting housing goals, particularly in locations near public transportation.

“Excessive parking inhibits building new homes,” said Grecia Mannah-Ayon, housing policy manager for TransForm.

According to a study published in 2022 by the Mineta Transportation Institute, which researches transportation at San Jose State University, there are over 634,000 parking spaces in the county of San Francisco.

TransForm hopes that city officials will support building housing that doesn’t place an emphasis on parking spaces.

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