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Thread: The 100 year parking event: the root of excessive parking standards

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    The 100 year parking event: the root of excessive parking standards

    Here's some scenes from the sprawl surrounding my fair town, taken at 11:00 AM on Black Friday, November 25, 2011 - the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States.













    You're probably noticing two things.

    1) There's no landscaping. It's an Upstate New York thing; the excuse being that it would make the lot too difficult to plow.

    2) The parking lots are nowhere even close to full.

    Upstate New York really didn't get hit too hard by the Great Recession. The area where I live is one of the few in Upstate New York that is actually growing. It's not a lack of money that are keeping these parking lots empty.

    So, I have to ask my fellow planners: why do we require so much parking for retail uses, spaces that go empty even on Black Friday? Why do we fear the thought of a full parking lot?

    Consider this: the standards were first established in the 1950s and 1960s (usually 4 or 5 spaces per 1000 square feet of retail), when there was far less retail space per person. Stores of that era were more crowded; smaller aisles, shelves packed more tightly, few open spaces. Anyone who was a child of the 1970s or earlier remembers how much more packed and chaotic supermarkets, department stores and discount stores used to be. Today's parking standards are still based on retail floor space, and are mostly unchanged from a time when stores were much smaller and more crowded as a norm.















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  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I think you've nailed this. We have a modern mega-strip mall (built in the last 5 years) that has a token amount of landscaping. Most of the site however is set-up with bioswales and other water collection features. We too get pretty much the same weather as upstate NY (outside of Buffalo). The interesting feature is that it employs pervious surfaces for parking lots in the outer areas.

    Ford developed this on an old dump. It still has far too many spaces, but it also has a lot of natural areas that surround the retail.
    http://search.midamericagrp.com/prop...lyer_51232.pdf
    http://www.phoenixawards.org/factshe...lane_Green.pdf
    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/de...n_231491_7.pdf
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    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    It is not the code standard at fault all the tme; developers/businesses often want excessive parking. Impose maximum parking standards and you will be cursed more than with minimums. Love the old photos BTW.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    Impose maximum parking standards and you will be cursed more than with minimums.
    Totally agree. Our code was literally changed where our minimums became maximums for non-residential and now we have instances where businesses don't have enough parking and are either parking in nearby residential areas causing conflict, parking in bikelanes on streets without parking (thinking at the time that the street wouldn't need parking, trying to keep our street width down), and/or calling patrons of the businesses calling and complaining to us why we have maximums and not minimums.

    What might be worth contrasting with these photos are instances where underutilized parking lots are then used for farmers markets, hobby car racing, and other community gathering type events. Or, show instances where the land owner built a building after the fact in an underutilized parking lot. I've seen these all these instances and have found that here in our town, the market addresses underutilized parking lots. The theory that if a parking lot is always full perhaps due to maximum parking standards that people will start considering biking, transit, and/or walking, hasn't happened here.

    I should also add that since a development has to account for the additional impervious area from a water quality/quantity perspective by adding more parking than what we might think is necessary, it's an impact on the developer's end that isn't without consequence. Let the market decide, if it turns out it's underutilized, we've found that a land owner dislikes an unused sea of asphalt as much as we do.

    BTW, the 100 year parking event reminds me of the street 100 Year Party Court in Longmont Colorado's Prospect New Urbanist development.
    Last edited by UrbaneSprawler; 26 Nov 2011 at 9:07 AM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    ...now we have instances where businesses don't have enough parking and are either parking in nearby residential areas causing conflict, parking in bikelanes on streets without parking (thinking at the time that the street wouldn't need parking, trying to keep our street width down), and/or calling patrons of the businesses calling and complaining to us why we have maximums and not minimums.
    The ovespill problem is easily fixed by resident permits and steep fines. But your point is valid that if everything else in your community is designed for maximum car dependency, there is a very real potential iconvenience in 'artificially' limiting parking space.

    I suppose that if there are fairly strict limits on how much land can be covered up by structures and/or parking, then free, surface parking loses out pretty quickly as a market-justified use.

    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    ...where underutilized parking lots are then used for farmers markets, hobby car racing, and other community gathering type events.
    In a town/district with reasonably decent design, it arguably makes sense to have a number of 'flexible' but mroe or elss paved spaces that cna be used for both pedestrian adn vehicular puproses. In Italy we caleld them "a square" .

    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    Let the market decide, if it turns out it's underutilized, we've found that a land owner dislikes an unused sea of asphalt as much as we do.
    That would dpend on possible alternate uses (foregone gain), information velocity (does one developer's/store owner's "msitake" translate quickly into the next development having less parking?), the cost of land and myriad regulations. The very reason the planning profession exists, arguably, is that pure 'market' outcomes have not been found to generate quality environments but rather a "build, decay, move on to rebuild" cycle in the same way that unregulated hunting-gathering or slash/burn agriculture results in areas beign "burned out" in rapid succession.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

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    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    I suspect that the parking lots/ramps at the big regional malls/stores around Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany were plenty full on Black Friday, Dan. The parking lots around Jamestown weren't that filled, either, but that's largely because people went to Erie or Hamburg to shop, where the parking lots around their shopping centers/malls/commercial areas are crammed and the traffic is horrendous just about every Saturday and Sunday.

    As for the plazas and their fuller parking lots from back in the 1950s and 1960s, that's easy: there were many fewer shopping centers (and later malls) back then plus shopping hours were compressed. There wasn't shopping on Sundays until at least the mid-1960s when blue laws were successfully challenged. Stores opened later and closed earlier. There were also many fewer multi-car families, so shopping was generally relegated to after Dad got home from work or to Saturdays. If somebody had taken pictures of those same shopping centers at 11 am on a Tuesday morning, I bet there were lots of spaces.

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    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    It is not the code standard at fault all the tme; developers/businesses often want excessive parking. Impose maximum parking standards and you will be cursed more than with minimums. Love the old photos BTW.
    Ditto gurnee on the photos. (I do not see much "evolution" in terms of facade design. Ugly is as ugly ever was.)

    Here's a true story only a few yrs old.

    Our county's planner (the first degreed one hired in its history BTW) was approached by an engineer scouting for a location of a big box pharmacy (all of which look the same these days too). The store had a leased location next door to a big box grocer, but was antsy.

    Engineer told planner he was supposed to look for a parcel spacious enough to contain the building as well as way oversize parking. Rationale? He was told the pharmacy's suits wanted to have lots of vacant parking space all the time, out of fear that a full lot would cause drivers to keep on going instead of stopping into a crowded store.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Fort Collins has done the unthinkable and created maximum parking standards for commercial development. And they have a Republican mayor, not wild-eyed regulator, but one who understands urbanism and planning. There's been some grumbling, but not much, from businesses. On the other hand, the city made the Wal-Mart center put in a good amount of landscape and convoluted circulation in its parking lot, which is a pain. Some saw this as a victory, but I thought, we still have a big Wal-Mart (not sure if its a Supercenter) with all that entails, its just a pain to drive around the parking lot. I guess this might make one more likely to go to Ace Hardware downtown, for the easy parking?

    ...now we have instances where businesses don't have enough parking and are either parking in nearby residential areas causing conflict, parking in bikelanes on streets without parking (thinking at the time that the street wouldn't need parking, trying to keep our street width down), and/or calling patrons of the businesses calling and complaining to us why we have maximums and not minimums.
    Yeah, I hate when they park in bicycle lanes.

    With regards to complaints and the parking supply more generally, I feel we really do need to look at better managing parking rather than simply increasing supply. Where I live in Denver, there is a group (composed of many ex-Boulderites, I'm told) who have started a campaign against apartments in the neighborhood commercial district. One of the complaints they had is that, with one on-site space per unit, that the apartment dwellers (many of whom would be young! ) would park extra cars on street in the commercial district. This is an urban-neighborhood commercial district in a big city, yet they have absolutely no parking management - forget meters, they don't even have 2-hour parking limits during business hours, or 15-minute parking at block end for customers to pick things up - nada. It doesn't seem the group is even aware of the concept. So the solution they fall back to is to keep low-density uses, despite Blueprint Denver's sustainability principles. (The coffee shop that took 30 minutes to serve me bagel also expressed concern that a Starbuck's might open if a new mixed-use building is built ... I guess this is "slow food" ... )

    (Ok, to be fair, many of them would be comfortable with 3 stories rather than the 5 allowed by zoning, but there is certainly an anti-multi-family bias going on ...)

    Also, I think in these lower-density residential neighborhoods, developed in the 20s with every house having its own driveway if not garage, we need to realize our primary parking will be in our driveway (or garage), and on-street parking is mainly visitor parking - we need not design our cities so we can find an open space in front of our house at all hours of the day, and yes, most of our visitors can walk.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    The ovespill problem is easily fixed by resident permits and steep fines.
    Fining people into compliance on a situation caused by artificial limitation is political suicide in my book and wouldn’t work in our neck of the woods. Maybe in our downtown, but most of these situations actually take place away from our urban core in semi-suburbia. We don’t have parking patrols of these areas and would need to hire more folks for enforcement. Sure we can make their jobs funded by the parking tickets they’d generate, but again it’s not preferred that we’d enforce a problem caused by our own regulations with no real solution other than telling people they need to carpool, take the bus, bike, etc.

    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    The very reason the planning profession exists, arguably, is that pure 'market' outcomes have not been found to generate quality environments but rather a "build, decay, move on to rebuild" cycle in the same way that unregulated hunting-gathering or slash/burn agriculture results in areas beign "burned out" in rapid succession.
    I don’t disagree with this premise at all. I just think we as regulators if we’re going to impose parking maximums, that we don’t become slaves to a parking table in our code books that tells us "yes" or "no". If a developer says they really need more than what the code allows and provides data to back it up, we should really take a look at this in detail. I’d certainly be inclined to think we should deny every attempt by a Walgreen’s to get more parking than what the code allows but be less inclined to uses that we don’t have the experience to know that they’re parking is under or over utiilizied.

    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post
    Fort Collins has done the unthinkable and created maximum parking standards for commercial development...There's been some grumbling, but not much, from businesses.
    I wouldn’t share this view. I'll leave it at that.

    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post
    On the other hand, the city made the Wal-Mart center put in a good amount of landscape and convoluted circulation in its parking lot, which is a pain.
    That’s a common misconception about that Wal-Mart, there were no requirements made regarding circulation. Internal circulation is not regulated. If anything there was a lot of head scratching with the design when proposed but nothing to regulate it.

    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post
    I guess this might make one more likely to go to Ace Hardware downtown, for the easy parking?
    If you call it easy parking. Still you need to navigate through all the outdoor sales in the right-of-way, okay I’ll shut up now.

  10. #10
    The empty spaces are not there to hold cars. They are there to sooth the irrational fear of not being able to park.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Here's some scenes from the sprawl surrounding my fair town, taken at 11:00 AM on Black Friday, November 25, 2011 - the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States.

    You're probably noticing two things.

    1) There's no landscaping. It's an Upstate New York thing; the excuse being that it would make the lot too difficult to plow.

    2) The parking lots are nowhere even close to full.

    Your thoughts?
    First, this 'Black Friday' hokum is becoming clear for everyone to see: the opening at midnight doesn't really stimulate sales, but it raises overhead. In a few years I think you'll see more cars in the cr*ptacular parking lot at 11.00 am.

    Second, no landscaping is not only bad for the urban environment, but lazy. If you aren't smart enough to know where to store snow and where to drive, you shouldn't be driving large mechanical equipment anyway. If you are advocating it to keep costs down for plowing, you shouldn't be calculating costs. [/grrrrr]

    Nonetheless, I think we all agree overparking is a given. As we see in our media every day, we don't run the show. Business does. What they want, they get. Occasionally we get small victories and a decent parking lot once in a while. But all the Colo planners will tell you we get many, many, many more forlorn acres of lonely asphalt.
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    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    Parking and Interior landscaping

    In my fair City, we have a parking requirement. No min., no max. - just an "it is what it is". A bit regressive if you ask me. We do require a 10 percent interior landscape area requirement. and this tidbit:
    a. 10% of gross vehicular use area or 12% of gross vehicular area if parking spaces are greater than or equal to 110% of required parking shall be provided in an island.
    b. Interior islands shall be designed so that in most cases no more than 10 parking spaces are provided in a row; staff may permit flexibility up to 15 spaces in a row.

    So, if you provide more than the required then you're going to put in more landscaping and you still can't have more than 15 spaces in a row. We do have min. landscape island dimensions (eight feet in any given direction and 150 sq.ft. overall).

    I'm a bit more partial to the max. parking requirement. I'm no fan of depending on developers to do what's right by the community but if they don't provide enough parking for their future tenants then they're not going to do well.

    Although.....I can think of one guy (real estate agent) who built a small building and asked for and received a parking reduction from four spaces/1,000 to 2.5 (I think - it was years ago). The approval was based on the fact that it was a small office building (about 4,000 square feet total, two floors) was going to be just his business and they usually didn't have clients come in except with appointments.

    He immediately turned around after the building was built and tried to sublet floor space to other offices. The provided 10 spaces wasn't enough and he started parking in the landscape islands. This was all within a month or two of completion of the building. He got snagged hard and had to replace all the landscaping. He's behaved himself ever since.

    I'm sure that this guy never had any intention of sticking to the deal and figured he'd just kill and pave over all the landscaping right away - didn't work out that way. He's still in business, though, so I guess things worked out for him.
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
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    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    Fining people into compliance on a situation caused by artificial limitation is political suicide in my book and wouldn’t work in our neck of the woods. Maybe in our downtown, but most of these situations actually take place away from our urban core in semi-suburbia. We don’t have parking patrols of these areas and would need to hire more folks for enforcement. Sure we can make their jobs funded by the parking tickets they’d generate, but again it’s not preferred that we’d enforce a problem caused by our own regulations with no real solution other than telling people they need to carpool, take the bus, bike, etc.
    I take your point. If the average citizen does not perceive the existence of huge, underused parkign lots and everything they imply as an problem then no, you can't really expect to enforce max parking regulations. Agreed.
    In terms of imposing excessive car dependency and gobbling up zillions of acres of land, I think it does raise issues and greater density in both construction and parking arrnagemetns is advisable. Perhaps some education would help. I don't know.

    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    ...as regulators if we’re going to impose parking maximums, that we don’t become slaves to a parking table in our code books that tells us "yes" or "no". If a developer says they really need more than what the code allows and provides data to back it up, we should really take a look at this in detail.
    That makes a lot of sense. What sort of metrics do you think one should look at in a case like that?
    Last edited by mendelman; 29 Nov 2011 at 12:50 PM.
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    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Ditto on the kudos, great pics. I think the recession has had some impact but basically the point is that retailers want there to be extra parking so people will come and shop without worrying about it.

    And I think your comment about stores getting bigger is also right.

    What I disagree with some here about is the idea of "interior" landscaping in a parking lot.IMHO, it's usually poorly cared for, gets killed by salt, and looks bad. Often you end up with mulch or worse. I'd rather see good solid landscaping around the outside and, if anything, some raised curbs with sidewalks within the parking lots to give pedestrians some refuge.

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    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    I like Dan's theory of how stores have changed internally, but on the outside the car owning % is way up and car occupancy is likely down. It all varies so much by how successful the business is, there is a lot of noise in the system.

    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    Totally agree. Our code was literally changed where our minimums became maximums for non-residential and now we have instances where businesses don't have enough parking and are either parking in nearby residential areas causing conflict, parking in bikelanes on streets without parking (thinking at the time that the street wouldn't need parking, trying to keep our street width down), and/or calling patrons of the businesses calling and complaining to us why we have maximums and not minimums.
    OT a little, the online comic Archimatects often jokes about architects versus city planners. Specifically, #87 was pretty apt: http://pintday.org/archimatects/comic?p=87.

    Anyways, I do feel for the city staffers who take the calls and periodic abuse from electeds. I wish the elected has some more spine but 99% can't see farther than the next election.

    Most cities around here have minimums, but are usually somewhat flexible to look at store data or research on similar sites nearby. But as always, the real estate people do react the way noted in this thread, e.g. "We can't lease office unless it has 3.3 per 1,000 SF". I just finished some serious research on residential multifamily parking occupancy, very consistent across developments and right in line with ITE Parking Generation urban observations even in auto-centric Dallas. And occupancy about 1/3 less than requirements.

    One city that I generally like has a minimum, but if the parking is over 10% greater than minimum, some additional landscaping restrictions are applied.

    I have had some traction talking about runoff, wasted space, and urban heat island effects. And just reality-check sound bytes where for small (~600sf) multifamily units you are requiring more space for cars than for people if you are at 2 spaces per unit.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Funny comic! Fortunately we have minimum parking for residential, it's non-residential where we have maximums. Coincidentally our traffic engineer is going to want to discuss with development staff this week, an elderly care facility where during the development review process they were denied additional parking spaces due to our magic parking ratio tables that tell us what's too much for non-residential. Now under operation, he's getting complaints that overflow parking from this development is spilling into abutting commercial and residential areas. He approached the folks at the elderly care facility asking if they would consider adding more parking on-site to which the manager responded with an "are you ^%#&%* kidding me?"

    This thread perhaps is a grass is greener on the other side situation, folks with parking minimums see problems, while folks who have gone to maximums see a different set of problems. I like Tobinn's concept of not specifying minimums or maximums, with the thought of parking needs being analyzed as a collaborative process between staff and the developer. We all know certain truths, like how banks and drugstores never have a full parking lot, ratchet those spaces down. What we can acknowledge we don't know, collaborate rather than legislate.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    This thread perhaps is a grass is greener on the other side situation, folks with parking minimums see problems, while folks who have gone to maximums see a different set of problems. I like Tobinn's concept of not specifying minimums or maximums, with the thought of parking needs being analyzed as a collaborative process between staff and the developer. We all know certain truths, like how banks and drugstores never have a full parking lot, ratchet those spaces down. What we can acknowledge we don't know, collaborate rather than legislate.
    Great idea, if the public will trust the planners and the municipal boards. Often times they do not and want the "comfort" of high minimums, which they then can negotiate away for benefits or use to keep development away altogether.

    Boy I am a grump today.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    Funny comic! Fortunately we have minimum parking for residential, it's non-residential where we have maximums. Coincidentally our traffic engineer is going to want to discuss with development staff this week, an elderly care facility where during the development review process they were denied additional parking spaces due to our magic parking ratio tables that tell us what's too much for non-residential. Now under operation, he's getting complaints that overflow parking from this development is spilling into abutting commercial and residential areas. He approached the folks at the elderly care facility asking if they would consider adding more parking on-site to which the manager responded with an "are you ^%#&%* kidding me?"
    Wow, that's the first time I've heard of parking problems at a senior use (other than bingo ). I'd be interested to know the details if possible. Around here they are parked like multifamily so usually have too many spaces.

    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    This thread perhaps is a grass is greener on the other side situation, folks with parking minimums see problems, while folks who have gone to maximums see a different set of problems. I like Tobinn's concept of not specifying minimums or maximums, with the thought of parking needs being analyzed as a collaborative process between staff and the developer. We all know certain truths, like how banks and drugstores never have a full parking lot, ratchet those spaces down. What we can acknowledge we don't know, collaborate rather than legislate.
    My libertarian side says there should be no mins or maxes, just each landowner deciding what is needed on each site. If they don't provide enough parking, the business and thus the lease rates suffer. Too much parking and construction cost is high. The market signal is there, but is slow moving and muffled since there is too often a gap between the builders and the ultimate managers of each site, plus then the banks want to protect their investments and would put in their own rules if the cities didn't.

    No parking overflow in libertopia since the roads are privately owned too. If the roads are still public then on-street parking is either acknowledged as a property right to the adjacent landowner via parking permits (letting them sell surplus curb space to business that needed it or keep it clear) or not at all (parking free-for-all with the aforementioned strong politicians to resist bitching).

    Another one I liked on building parking lots, collaboration you say?
    http://pintday.org/archimatects/comic?p=336

  19. #19
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Random Traffic Guy View post
    Wow, that's the first time I've heard of parking problems at a senior use (other than bingo ). I'd be interested to know the details if possible. Around here they are parked like multifamily so usually have too many spaces.
    I probably used slightly the wrong term, it's a long term care facility (generally elderly). 80,000 square feet of building and 67 parking spaces were provided. I'm unable to find their bed count as our max specifies no more than .33 parking spaces per bed plus 1 parking space/two employees on major shift. Since the facility abuts only two streets, one being an arterial with no parking allowed, spillover apparently occurs quite often onto the remaining local street that abuts other commercial and residential uses.


    Quote Originally posted by Random Traffic Guy View post
    My libertarian side says there should be no mins or maxes, just each landowner deciding what is needed on each site. If they don't provide enough parking, the business and thus the lease rates suffer. Too much parking and construction cost is high. The market signal is there, but is slow moving and muffled since there is too often a gap between the builders and the ultimate managers of each site, plus then the banks want to protect their investments and would put in their own rules if the cities didn't.
    This works fine from my perspective. That said, I wonder why Walgreen's thinks they need to have their parking lots appear to be no more than 10% occupied all the time. I would think that people would psychologically think going there would be of more importance if their lots were at least half full at any given moment.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    In my experience the larger "corporate" places are always fighting for more parking. They must have corporate standards that require a certain amount of spaces. Who cares that Taco Bell only has 56 seats, they must have at least 65 parking spaces in case each seat drives their own car... On the flip side, the mom and pop places think that they can get away with almost no spaces. I think parking maximums are a good way to solve this with the cavet that if you underestimate your parking and people start parking on the street, that you will be subject to zoning enforcement. If someone wants over the maximum they must justify it to the Planning Commission and must mitigate the additional parking with landscaping or paving the excess parking with pervious pavement.

  21. #21
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by rcgplanner View post
    ...you will be subject to zoning enforcement.
    How do you do that? Are you going to go into the business that ask every patron which car is their's?

    Actually, this thread has raised an interesting question for me. Are specific parking standards even necessary now?

    For example, I work for a post WWII suburb that consists of mainly auto oriented development. All our commercial districts/areas are on arterials and collectors where on-street parking is not permitted. Additionally, modern commerical development automatically assumes on-site parking must be provided, regardless of whether the local land use regulations require it - it's in the DNA of development now after 60-70 years. Therefore, I ask whether I should even have parking requirements at all in my jurisdiction. The developers will automatically construct it for new projects and all of the existing developed sites already have on-site parking.

    An interesting experiment would be to create a "no parking requirement" area and see what happens.

    Thoughts?
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

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  22. #22
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    How do you do that? Are you going to go into the business that ask every patron which car is their's?
    It could be a logistical nightmare for enforcement, but I was saying it could be done. If a neighbor was complaining that the neighborhood cafe was causing people to spill on to the street, an enforcement officer could watch and see if people parking on the street are going into the cafe. Probably be easier to just post no parking signs on the street and be done with it.

    I too wonder if parking standards are still necessary. I think parking minimums are outdated and lead to overparking. I think parking maximums wolud help solve the root of the 100 year parking event issue. If a business wants more than the maximum plead your case to the Planning Commission and mitigate the excess parking with additional landscaping/screening or pervious pavement.

  23. #23
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by rcgplanner View post
    It could be a logistical nightmare for enforcement, but I was saying it could be done. If a neighbor was complaining that the neighborhood cafe was causing people to spill on to the street, an enforcement officer could watch and see if people parking on the street are going into the cafe.
    A typical enforcement officer has much more important things to worry about than someone legally parking a car on a public street.

    The politicians would kill something like this at inception.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    I think one thing we in the public sector can do is start with good urban design for public facilities - the rights of way. On-street parking seems a key to me in allowing for sustainable development patterns - because it is by nature flexible and can serve myriad uses throughout the day. Having lived in Fort Collins, I really came to appreciate the many streets - not just the main strip - that had angled parking around downtown due to historical development patterns. While I've seen some claim the angled parking is not "urbanist," I think it works well in commercial & mixed use situations where you need a certain level of parking to support development. A quick back-of-the-enevelope calculation showed that these block faces yield 60% more parking than parallel - further alleviating the need for excessive on-site parking. Plus the "little old ladies" who frequented the natural foods/vitamin store reportedly had no trouble with the angled parking! Street typologies such as the New Urbanist boulevard or Calthorpe's urban network seem to me like they can provide a good amount of parking in a situation that also accommodates good auto mobility. Allow alleys into the mix and you have ready-made access to parking behind buildings. In a setting like this, perhaps the market-based approach of not regulating parking at all - except perhaps by form/design/landscape or screening standards - would seem feasible for a large number of uses. As would a more flexible approach that would also allow for uses to change over time. Of course, parking as a finite resource may have to be managed - the alternative being the traditional planning approach of making sure the physical environment provides more than enough parking on each individual development. It will also mean we see parking "spilling onto the street" as natural rather than a negative impact. And that if you want to be guaranteed a space right in front of your house 24/7, you may need to clean out the garage or park on your driveway!

    I think as we see development patterns more linked to TOD, walkability, etc., we will start to realize these ideas don't just belong in the small downtown district of a city. Thoughts?

    I always find it interesting to see an apartment building along a collector street where there is no on-street parking - and then they are mandated to provide one on-site visitor spot per 4 apartments ...

  25. #25
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    A typical enforcement officer has much more important things to worry about than someone legally parking a car on a public street.

    The politicians would kill something like this at inception.
    I agree with you 100%mendelman. That is why I think parking maximums is a better way to address this issue.

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