Chandler may adjust zoning laws for driverless vehicles

Posted at 6:49 PM, May 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-09 23:05:27-04

Looking to a future when we'll need less parking spots and more passenger drop-off zones, Chandler could be the first city in the nation to adjust zoning laws to accommodate autonomous vehicles.

Chandler is home to Waymo's autonomous car testing. It's a pioneer town for the next wave of transportation.

"So it's very tangible because we've seen those cars," Chandler principal planner David De La Torre said. "It's not a pie-in-the-sky type of idea."

Chandler city planners see a shift over the next decade or two. As rideshare services and self-driving taxis become a regular form of transit for many people, fewer personal cars need fewer parking spaces.

City council will make the final vote on zoning changes Thursday.  

Under the proposal, businesses and multi-family housing developers could reduce their parking areas by up to 40 percent, if they install a passenger loading area and can prove their customers will use rideshare.

"The parking reduction is not going to be automatic, it depends on the parking demand survey being submitted to the city," De La Torre said.

The biggest winner could be Chandler's downtown entertainment district. 

"Downtown Chandler gets a lot of visitors between the restaurants, the music, the nightlife," Sibley's West owner John Wolfe said. "I think anything they can do to make it easier for people to get downtown is going to be a benefit for all of us."

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