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Thread: Parking regulations in suburban/urbanizing areas

  1. #1
         
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    Parking regulations in suburban/urbanizing areas

    How much is too much parking? What is the public interest in private parking? How do you plan for parking lots when people drive compact cars for five years them move on to SUV hogs? Will Katrina and the gas prices really impact the way the way people drive and park? Would appreciate any good ordinances you can suggest. Thanks, Betsy Stark, Senior Planner, Fulton County in Atlanta, Georgia

  2. #2
    maudit anglais
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    I don`t think any existing parking ordinances address the more philosophical questions you are posing.

    1. Really depends on who you speak to - an environmentalist might say 1 space is too much, a shopping mall owner might say you could never have enough.

    2. Define ``public interest``. Private parking can serve to fill a need where public parking facilities don`t exist or can`t economically be provided.

    3. You can`t - but most parking spaces would accommodate both compacts and SUVs.

    4. Ask me in a couple of years. It really is too soon to tell. If gas prices stay high and move gradually higher I would expect to see some impacts on vehicle use.

    5. The ordinances in use where I work are (by and large) practical for a large, dense, urban centre with high non-auto use. Your mileage may vary.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally posted by Betsy Stark
    How much is too much parking? What is the public interest in private parking? How do you plan for parking lots when people drive compact cars for five years them move on to SUV hogs? Will Katrina and the gas prices really impact the way the way people drive and park? Would appreciate any good ordinances you can suggest. Thanks, Betsy Stark, Senior Planner, Fulton County in Atlanta, Georgia
    Betsy
    ITE has a parking generation book that shows applicable parking spaces/sf of any type of building usage (91 overall). This would be a good start on what everyone else has and what the going rate is.

    I would say, of course the public wants free public parking, but in some areas it is just not realistic. This being said, there is alot of public interest in private parking (in garages, etc.)

    Use typical parking space dimensions for all vehicles, do not try to accomodate the minority (save for ADA and sometimes motorcycle)

    I agree with the afore mentioned reply to the effect of Hurricane Katrina. I do think it was a worst case scenario of what happens when a city highly relies on public transportation, it will make inner city people think twice about having their own mode of transportation.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  4. #4
         
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    If you have a chance to pick up Donald Shoup "The High Cost of Free Parking" you can definately get some good suggestions there.

    If you can use form based codes, like the New Urbanists, you can get away from perscribing directly from ITE Trip Generation and Parking reports

    Parking maximums, rather than minimums, are another good way to approach reducing the amount of space dedicated to the car.

    Try using developer contributions to connect local bike lanes and sidewalks, and upgrade transit stops in the area, so that its possible to use multiple modes to access a site.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr
    ....I agree with the afore mentioned reply to the effect of Hurricane Katrina. I do think it was a worst case scenario of what happens when a city highly relies on public transportation, it will make inner city people think twice about having their own mode of transportation.
    OFF-TOPIC:
    New Orleans public transportation wasn't that good and it was nothing like what it once was before GM got ahold of the streetcar lines. If the city had a good train system in place with long distance rail service (ie Amtrak), the 100,000+ people without cars who couldn't get out through other means, could have gotten out in plenty of time. Such infrastructure could have been had at a fraction of the cost of each individual family owning a private car.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  6. #6
    I wouldn't say that New Orleans illustrates the folly of relying on public transit. I would say that it shows us that Americans tend to forget the carless, who in New Orleans, are largely the poor.

    Miami Beach, another hurricane prone city with a lot of car-free residents, is more prepared:

  7. #7
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    ^ Wow, excellent photo example of the way things should be.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    If you trust the transit agency/government to actually have the busses there when needed. But some plan is better than nothing.
    Mary Landrieu appearance on Fox News Sunday:
    LANDRIEU: Well, I will. I will answer it. I am not going to level criticism at local and state officials. Mayor Nagin and most mayors in this country have a hard time getting their people to work on a sunny day, let alone getting them out of the city in front of a hurricane.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian PlanBoston's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr

    I agree with the afore mentioned reply to the effect of Hurricane Katrina. I do think it was a worst case scenario of what happens when a city highly relies on public transportation, it will make inner city people think twice about having their own mode of transportation.

    I would argue just the opposite. New Orleans had an inefficient and inadequate public transit system. Had there been a reliable transit system in New Orleans in conjunction with a decent national rail system, tens of thousands would have been able to get out without relying on private transportation. For this reason, I believe improving public transit should be an integral part of the rebuilding of New Orleans.

  10. #10
         
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    Quote Originally posted by Random Traffic Guy
    If you trust the transit agency/government to actually have the busses there when needed. But some plan is better than nothing.
    The transportation planners (read: local transit agencies/ local government) on CUTR's transportation-tdm listserv responded by offering buses to other transportation agencies. I know that buses came from as far away as Chicago's PACE network to help. Its upsetting that nothing was coordinated on a broad scale before the tragedy, its not like transit agencies turned a blind eye to the need.

    I think it was shameful that folks in the media, who could have shared evacuation information for people without cars, waited as long as they did to just tell folks to go to the Superdome.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian permaplanjuneau's avatar
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    parking is everything

    OK, parking isn't really EVERYTHING, but it sure seems like that sometimes in this line of work. I'd like to second the opinion that you read "The High Cost of Free Parking." I'd also like to suggest that you burn any copy of ITE's "Parking Generation" that you find lying around. It's caused way more harm than good (see Donald Shoup's book, above, for an explanation of this statement).

    I think that the public interest is in only barely providing enough parking most of the time. Providing enough free parking for the peak use is like catering an overeaters-anonymous meeting with an all-you-can-eat buffet.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    And here I was using Parking Generation to justify reducing the number of spaces required by local municipalities. Back to code it is, thanks permaplanjuneau!




  13. #13

    Parking Codes

    Since there are so many anti-ITE parking generation cyburbanites.....
    Can anyone offer up their parking code that prescribes the # of parking spaces per square foot of building usage then?
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian permaplanjuneau's avatar
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    only if your town is just like mine

    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr
    Since there are so many anti-ITE parking generation cyburbanites.....
    Can anyone offer up their parking code that prescribes the # of parking spaces per square foot of building usage then?
    Unfortunately, parking requirements are commonly "borrowed" from one municipality for adoption in another area--this might be OK if you're trying to establish a requirement for a use such as a motel located at a freeway off-ramp, and you're using the demand that has been observed at several motels in the town just down the freeway from your location, but it is utterly inappropriate when comparing the requirements of use A in New York City to the requirements of use A in Akron, OH (or Juneau, AK). The fact of the matter is that the existing built environment, transit service, and demographic of each town (and even each part of a given town) will play more of a role in determining how much parking is required for a given use than what that particular use is defined as (we currently differentiate between offices with and without customer service, but the size of an office (300 sq. ft.) v. the size of a cubicle (30 sq. ft.) has more effect on parking generation than the potential for having on-site customer service).

    I'm currently in the middle of re-writing our parking requirements, but am faced with doing so for an utterly unique city--we may be the capital of Alaska, but Juneau has no roads connecting it to the outside world, so people simply don't pull off the freeway for a bite to eat or a place to stay overnight, and our "malls" can't attract customers from neighboring towns, even for the biggest sale of the year. As such, I can't utilize the parking requirements of any "regular" city in determining what we ought to require for many uses.

    It takes a lot more thought and work to develop rational requirements for your own city, but nobody ever said that planning was easy, or that copying text out of a book would result in reasonable regulations. I would recommend looking at various developments in your area that have parking arrangements that work, and crafting your parking requirements to match those situations. For instance, I have compiled a list of all of the variances granted to reduce parking requirements in Juneau since 1987, and am now reviewing those variances to see what has worked and what hasn't--this has led me to believe that we can safely change our parking requirement for retail uses from one space per 200 square feet to one space per 250 or 280 square feet. Similarly, I have determined that our existing requirement of one space per 1000 square feet for manufacturing uses is too low, and our requirement of one space per 1000 square feet for storage uses is too high.

    Like I said above, this takes a lot of research and a lot of thought, but without looking at your existing requirements and what those requirements have resulted in, you will at best be adopting a requirement that you can't justify, and at worst you'll be adopting a requirement that is utterly wrong for your town. Good luck.

    I guess that in order to be slightly helpful in terms of answering your question, I would recommend www.municode.com. This site has the municipal codes of hundreds of US cities, so it's fairly easy to find and compare the parking requirements of many places. Just be careful what standards you borrow, and make sure that they match the observed needs of your community.
    Last edited by permaplanjuneau; 12 Oct 2005 at 2:59 PM.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally posted by passdoubt
    I wouldn't say that New Orleans illustrates the folly of relying on public transit. I would say that it shows us that Americans tend to forget the carless, who in New Orleans, are largely the poor.
    Plus, don't forget the absolute chaos shown on Interstate 10. Cars are not the cure-all, especially in cities with a limited number of exit routes.

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