Monday, December 30, 2013

How Can Cities Improve Their Use of Public Space for Parking Cars?

Traffic to/from the parking spaces on this sid...
Parking Reform Made Easy(6 Page pdf, Richard Willson, ACCESS #43, University of California Institute of Transportation Studies, Fall 2013) 

The amount of paved urban space dedicated to parking and driving private vehicles approaches 50% in many cities, crowding out elements of healthy cities such as green space, car-free pedestrian areas and cycling paths and contributing directly or indirectly to greenhouse gas emissions 80% of which come from cities. 

Today we review a proposal to approach the way that cities regulate parking that moves away from traditional systems that encourage car travel, lower density urban cores and higher traffic congestion through wasteful land use to one that raises the priority for buses, cycling and pedestrian use. 

The solution is to approach the challenge with a focus on making better use of parking spaces, adjusting that use incrementally by incorporating local needs and policy goals into Transportation Master Plans and Official Plans (planning mechanisms used by Canadian municipalities) – specifically by moving away from mandated minimum 300 sq. ft. parking spaces to a system that does not supply parking spaces until they are justified economically.

Key Quotes: 

“Parking requirements in zoning ordinances create one of the most wasteful elements of transportation and land use systems: unoccupied parking spaces. Each space requires over 300 square feet of valuable land or building area, yet many sit empty.” 

“Deregulation shifts the approach from automatically requiring parking to not supplying it until it is economically justified.” 

"Making informed decisions begins with measured parking utilization rates and .. a series of adjustments that consider local context and policy goals:
  • Measure the existing parking utilization.
  • Consider future parking utilization…
  • Begin moving from utilization rates to prospective parking requirements…
  • Adjust the prospective parking requirement to account for particular characteristics of the project or land use category, as well as area land use and transportation conditions…
  • Account for market conditions and policies regarding parking pricing..
  • Consider plans for facilities and programs to increase transit and shuttle services, bicycling, and walking.
  • Assess the impact of local practices and policies that affect how efficiently spaces are used.
  • Recognize that community parking resources, either on-street or in other off-street facilities, may justify a reduction in the parking requirement for new development...
  • Conduct a shared-parking analysis, which applies when parking requirements are being developed for mixed-use zoning categories or blended requirements..
  • Evaluate the prospective parking requirement, as adjusted through Step 9, and consider whether it supports community goals and plans…
  • Address regulations about the minimum size of parking spaces to allow an efficient yield of spaces per square foot of parking area…
  • Consider regulations allowing tandem parking (one car behind another), valet parking, and automated parking.”
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