Parking Strategy Paper Introduction and Overview

Introduction and Overview

This paper will cover general principles of parking management, existing conditions in the region, and potential parking management best practices covering both supply-side and demand-side solutions. Finally, the impacts of different strategies on various indicators will be evaluated. Planning for parking has traditionally focused on ensuring free and abundant parking spaces by setting minimum requirements based on peak user demand. A major shift to this approach has occurred. The complexities of parking and its effects on other factors have called into question the "free and abundant" parking policies. Specifically, concerns about air quality, traffic congestion, and financial feasibility have influenced this shift. Parking cost and convenience are important, but opinions vary as to how much should be provided, where, and who should pay for it.

There are many different interests and viewpoints to consider when making planning decisions with regards to parking management. Each municipality and its unique neighborhoods will have different needs; there is no single parking policy that will work for the entire region. Todd Litman suggests that planners use the following Parking Management Principles when making decisions to support parking management (2006):

  1. Consumer Choice. People should have viable parking and travel options.
  2. User information. Motorists should have information on their parking and travel options
  3. Sharing. Parking facilities should serve multiple users and destinations.
  4. Efficient utilization. Parking facilities should be sized and managed so spaces are frequently occupied.
  5. Flexibility. Parking plans should accommodate uncertainty and change.
  6. Prioritization. The most desirable spaces should be managed to favor higher-priority uses.
  7. Pricing. As much as possible, users should pay directly for the parking facilities they use.
  8. Peak management. Special efforts should be made to deal with peak-demand.
  9. Quality vs. quantity. Parking facility quality should be considered as important as quantity, including aesthetics, security, accessibility and user information.
  10. Comprehensive analysis. All significant costs and benefits should be considered in parking planning.

Every transportation system must have a parking component; it is a major land use in both urban and suburban communities. The design, location, quantity, and price of parking can significantly affect surrounding uses, property values, and quality of life. Parking has the potential to increase or reduce traffic congestion (Weant and Levinson 1990). When parking policies and programs are effectively utilized, they can increase efficiency of land use, which has many ancillary benefits. Reducing the number of spaces required can generate property tax revenue, reduce land consumption, improve walkability, increase viability of alternative transportation modes, reduce environmental degradation, and create more vibrant communities (Litman 2006).