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San Francisco Introduces YIMBY Legislation: “Cars to Casas”

On Tuesday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed introduced YIMBY legislation to make it easier to turn old parking lots into new housing. This ordinance, dubbed “Cars to Casas,” will make it faster (and therefore cheaper) to build housing on properties currently used for automobile related uses like gas stations, auto body shops, or parking lots.

San Francisco Bay Area YIMBY Activists with Mayor Lodon Breed and State Senator Scott Weiner at the Announcement of Cars to Casas Legislation

Speakers at the press conference included Mayor Breed, Senator Scott Wiener, YIMBY Action Executive Director Laura Foote.

YIMBY Action chapters like Streets for People celebrated online.

Behind The Scenes: Developing the concept

Volunteer activist leads of SF YIMBY, Urban Environmentalists, and Streets for People developed the concept for this bill. Mayor London Breed reached out to local activists and community groups to get ideas for bills to get more housing built and address the city’s chronic housing shortage. YIMBY leaders were thrilled to offer their ideas. Since the number one thing San Francisco can do to bring down carbon emissions to build infill housing, retrofitting parking lots into housing was an obvious win-win. After hearing the initial concept, Mayor Breed ran with it, coming back with Cars to Casas. This bill will take significant steps to help turn San Francisco’s car-centric infrastructure (underused garages, parking lots, etc.) into much-needed housing.

The number one thing San Francisco can do to bring down carbon emissions is to build infill housing.

CoolClimate Network

What’s Next

From here, the Cars to Casas bill will go before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. YIMBY members will work hard to convince the housing-skeptical Board of Supervisors to pass the legislation. Thankfully, some Supervisors are already announcing their support.

While the YIMBY movement successfully elected some of the state’s most pro-housing Mayors, State Senators and Assemblymembers, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors remains a major obstacle to more pragmatic housing policies. So, get ready to let the Board know that you want to see this legislation pass!

Why this Matters

YIMBY Action’s Executive Director, Laura Foote, shared the following comments on the bill:

Bills like this offer us a unique opportunity to make progress simultaneously on our most challenging issues.

Cars to Casas will take steps to make our cities more accessible, address a chronic housing shortage, add housing and put downward pressure on rents, and make our city more accessible and equitable.

At the same time, we’re taking steps to address climate change. Cars to Casas is about green tech retrofitting. We’re taking car-centric infrastructure and creating more sustainable communities, one parking lot at a time.

President Biden says, don’t tell me your values, show me your budget. Well, for local goverments, it’s: Don’t tell me your values, show me your land use policies. THE number one thing San Francisco can do to address climate change is building infill housing.

Laura Foote, YIMBY Action Executive Director



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