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Less Traffic, Better Places Rethinking Parking Policy Patrick Siegman NelsonNygaard Consulting Associates. Definition: Minimum parking requirements are government regulations that specify the minimum number of parking spaces that must be provided for every land use.
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Less Traffic, Better Places Rethinking Parking Policy Patrick Siegman Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates
Definition: Minimum parking requirements are government regulations that specify the minimum number of parking spaces that must be provided for every land use. They are intended to ensure that cities have more parking spaces than they would if the matter was left up to the free market.
Great Britain: national parking policy reform • Planning Policy Guidance 13: Transport • Enacted March 2001 • New policy: “Local authorities should….not require developers to provide more spaces than they themselves wish…” • Previously: as in the US, local minimum parking requirements were common
British National Parking Policy “Policies in development plans should set maximum levels of parking for broad classes of development… There should be no minimum standards for development, other than parking for disabled people.” - Planning Policy Guidance 13: Transport
Background: parking policy When did California cities first adopt minimum parking requirements, and why?
Minimum Parking Requirements Purpose • Palo Alto: “to alleviate traffic congestion”? • San Diego: “to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality” • to prevent spill-over parking problems
Minimum Parking Requirements - Source Example: Office Parks Peak Occupancy Rates, in spaces per 1000 sf of building area: Lowest: 0.94 spaces Average: 2.52 spaces Highest: 4.25 spaces Typical requirement: 4.0 spaces/1000 sf
Unintended Consequences of Parking Requirements • Minimum requirements set to provide excess spaces even when parking is free, even at isolated locations with no transit. • Parking is then provided for free at most destinations and its costs hidden. • Bundling the cost of parking into higher prices for everything else skews travel choices toward driving.
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$5/day for each day an employee leaves his car at home Goals: Reduce parking demand on the South San Francisco campus Allow business expansion Improve employee benefits Genentech’s Parking Cash-out
From Feb 2006 to Oct 2008, reduced drive alone rate from 78% to 65% A 17% decline in the drive alone rate Saved $25-50 million on parking construction Genentech’s Parking Cash-out - Results
Why doesn’t every employer do this? • Due to minimum parking requirements, employers must build enough parking to provide ample parking even when there is no parking cash-out for employees • Providing this much parking often costs more than $200/space/month. • If employers invest in providing employees with better alternatives to driving alone, the expensively built employee parking spaces will sit empty. Conclusion: it is very expensive to build ample employee parking and then pay employees to not use it.
Conclusion: To make it financially feasible for employers to implement sustainable transportation policies, minimum parking requirements must be removed.
Successful Precedents Reviving neighborhoods by abolishing minimum parking requirements • Coral Gables, FL • Eugene, OR • Fort Myers, FL • Fort Pierce, FL • Great Britain (entire nation) • Los Angeles, CA • Milwaukee, WI • Olympia, WA • Portland, OR • San Francisco, CA • Stuart, FL • Seattle, WA • Spokane, WA
No Parking Requirements on Main Street • Ventura’s Main Street – Requirements Removed • 7 new restaurants opened up within months • Allowed new 10-screen movie theater
Petaluma, CA: Smart Code Results Key Policies • Manage On-Street Parking • Parking requirements drastically reduced, then abolished • Nov ’02: Project start • June ’03: Code adopted • July ’03: $75 million project (theater, retail, apartments, office) approved • Today: Theater District open
Require the “Unbundling” of Parking Costs
Unbundling parking costs from commercial leases Example: Downtown Bellevue, WA • Requires building owners to include parking costs as a separate line item in leases • Minimum rate for long-term parking: ≥ twice the price of a bus pass • Minimum rate in 2003: $144/month • Maximum parking requirements: 2.4 spaces / 1000 sf GLA Results: drive alone commute rate fell by 30%, from 81% driving alone to 57%
Make Housing Affordable: “Unbundle” Parking Costs from Housing Costs
Parking costs are “unbundled” Parking fee: $150/month
The Gaia Building – Parking Demand • 91 apartments, theater, café & office space • 42 parking spaces supplied • Result: 237 adult residents with just 20 cars
For more information Patrick Siegman Nelson\Nygaard Consulting (415) 284-1544 www.nelsonnygaard.com PSiegman@nelsonnygaard.com