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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


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Less Traffic, Better Places

Rethinking Parking Policy

Patrick Siegman

Nelson\Nygaard

Consulting Associates

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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
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
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
Background: parking policy

When did California cities first adopt minimum parking requirements, and why?

minimum parking requirements
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
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

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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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genentech s parking cash out
$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
genentech s parking cash out results
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
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.

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Conclusion:

To make it financially feasible for employers to implement sustainable transportation policies, minimum parking requirements must be removed.

successful precedents
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
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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
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
unbundling parking costs from commercial leases
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%

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Make Housing Affordable:

“Unbundle” Parking Costs from Housing Costs

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Parking costs are “unbundled”

Parking fee: $150/month

the gaia building parking demand
The Gaia Building – Parking Demand
  • 91 apartments, theater, café & office space
  • 42 parking spaces supplied
  • Result: 237 adult residents with just 20 cars
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For more information

Patrick Siegman

Nelson\Nygaard Consulting

(415) 284-1544

www.nelsonnygaard.com

PSiegman@nelsonnygaard.com