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Thread: Parallel parking space dimensions

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Parallel parking space dimensions

    We are in the process of rewriting our ordinances (zoning, subdivision, and sign). We're currently working on parking. Our consultant is suggesting 9'x23' for the dimensions for parallel parking spaces. That seems a bit large to me. For some reason I think I've heard 7'x22'.

    Oh, throbbing brain of Cyburbia, what are some of the measurements you've seen for parallel parking spaces?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    7' or 8' x 22' is pretty common, I haven't seen 9' wide in a standard before. IIRC the 7' examples will tend to be attached to sections with wider streets, and 8' to narrower streets, bascially cancelling out any functional difference. It blends into discussions of street width, traffic calming through narrowness, etc; can't really be decided as a single requirement. I would say allow down to 7' in higher density areas. If developers want to go wider, they can provide the space.

    Try to allow flexibility. There's some interesting variations around like tandem parallel parking (18' space, 8' gap, 18' space, 18' space, 8' gap, repeat, which provides some designated maneuvering area rather than longer spaces), reverse angled parking...

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    The ITE Books give excellant examples for spaces and backing and turning considerations as well as sight distances, cone of vision and pedestrian movements

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Seven feet is uncomfortable for those exiting their vehicles. I would recommend eight. Why do you need a length? Are you installing meters?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    The recommendation for 9'x23' comes from the draft of our off-street parking regulations, so these spaces would most likely not be located on a public street, but would be located in a parking lot or along a driveway in a commercial, multi-family residential, or mixed-use area.

    "7.01.06 Parking Lot Design and Maintenance...
    7. Minimum Dimesnions for a parallel parking space shall be nine feet by 23 feet."

    I'm not familiar with the abreviations "ITE" and "IIRC", would someone let me know what these acronyms stand for?

  6. #6
    Dan Staley's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by anf View post
    We are in the process of rewriting our ordinances (zoning, subdivision, and sign). We're currently working on parking. Our consultant is suggesting 9'x23' for the dimensions for parallel parking spaces. That seems a bit large to me. For some reason I think I've heard 7'x22'.
    Does your consultant think all of your populace drives dualies with trailer mirrors, and they bring them downtown with the horse trailer? 9' is too wide.

    I'm with RTG. Too much rigidity also means that you can't install traffic calming devices, projecting tree wells, etc. Making small minimums allows developer flexibility.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Hahaha, well, I do live in a part of the country that is surrounded by farmland. There are lots of F250s and F350s running around, not to mention the tractors and horse & buggies driven by the Amish who come into town for supplies!

  8. #8
    Dan Staley's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by anf View post
    Hahaha, well, I do live in a part of the country that is surrounded by farmland. There are lots of F250s and F350s running around, not to mention the tractors and horse & buggies driven by the Amish who come into town for supplies!
    :o)

    The F-350s always think streets are too narrow, don't they?

  9. #9
    23 feet? wouldnt that fit two normal size cars?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Full size pickups, Suburbans, land yacht luxury cars, are in the 18-19' range. AASHTO standard passenger car is 19'x7', that's very large. Somewhere I have dimensions for Suburbans and Excursions since I had a grocery store client who thought we didn't know what we were talking about on parking spaces, and wanted to see the big SUVs in and out with AutoTurn.

    IIRC = If I Recall Correctly
    ITE = Institute of Transportation Engineers

    Yes, 7' causes people to worry about their doors. It should also cause passing drivers to worry and SLOW DOWN. But the 7' ones I have seen were balanced by lane widths remaining 11' or 12'.

    Good pavement markings (a little "T" that defines the width of the space in addition to the length) can help people stay close to the curb when parking. Or make the whole space out of another material, and keep it narrow (perhaps show 7' even if the spaces are technically 8'). One installation of those tandem spaces has the parking spaces the same as the road, but the maneuvering space is brick or patterned asphalt.

  11. #11
    I had to go to a couple of car websites to see just how long cars are. Even a Rav4 is over 15 feet long!

    Sorry I doubted you all!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    ITE Institute of Traffic Engineers

  13. #13
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Again, why do you need a length? Where I come from, there are no pavement markings delineating on-street parking and it works itself out just fine.

    You actually get more efficient use of the space. A small Honda Civic doesn't occupy a 23-foot-long marked space, when all it really needs is 15 feet, leaving more room for a larger F350.

  14. #14
         
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    for no reason whatsoever i thought i'd let you know that the standard parking space in the UK is 4.8m x 2.4m (15ft 9in x 7ft 10in). Although for parallel parking there, unless its metered parking, there's not much point in having a length. If there's space between vehicles you park, if there isn't, you find somewhere else to park.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Again, why do you need a length? Where I come from, there are no pavement markings delineating on-street parking and it works itself out just fine.
    The reason we "need" a lenth is because this is a section under our off-street parking requirements. If a developer chooses to provide parallel off-street parking, we would need to have some way of measuring how many spaces they were providing in order to determine whether they were meeting our requirements for the number of spaces for that particular land use.

    I totally agree that you can squeeze in more cars if there are no pavement markings. The little street I lived on in college was a perfect example - I wish I had a picture to show my fellow Cyburbians. The parking shenanigans that went on there would probably simultaneously shock and delight you.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by anf View post
    The reason we "need" a length is because this is a section under our off-street parking requirements. If a developer chooses to provide parallel off-street parking, we would need to have some way of measuring how many spaces they were providing in order to determine whether they were meeting our requirements for the number of spaces for that particular land use.
    In that case wouldn't the length be the average length of local cars, plus 1 to 1.5 feet between the next car? Assuming that the average length of a car in your community is 15 feet, a parallel parking lane that is 80 feet long would accomodate five cars.

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    So what are the demensions of a Parallel Parking Space?

    So in reading this thread I still didn't see the answer to the question that I needed the answer to...WHAT are the "average" dimensions to the "standard" acceptable parallel parking space?

    While I am neither a working or a designer of such things...I am a mother who is teaching my son to drive and need to set up a space such as this to have him practice. I live in Michigan and while I have measured a few spaces in order for him to practice, all have been different. I don't know if it is the weather that has brought them to different sizes...however, there must be a required measurement?

    Can someone help me with this? I would appreciate it.

    Thanks,

    Deller.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Random Traffic Guy View post
    7' or 8' x 22' is pretty common...
    I think it was answered pretty well in the first post.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    With my driving record a 7' wide parking spot would be a disaster . 23' was common length when i was in TX. 21 or 22 is more common back here in WI

  20. #20
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Would 23' be enough for Horse and Buggy? Depending upon town layout, you may need to factor this in.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  21. #21
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by deller1234 View post
    So in reading this thread I still didn't see the answer to the question that I needed the answer to...WHAT are the "average" dimensions to the "standard" acceptable parallel parking space?

    While I am neither a working or a designer of such things...I am a mother who is teaching my son to drive and need to set up a space such as this to have him practice. I live in Michigan and while I have measured a few spaces in order for him to practice, all have been different. I don't know if it is the weather that has brought them to different sizes...however, there must be a required measurement?

    Can someone help me with this? I would appreciate it.

    Thanks,

    Deller.

    Deller, if you are looking to provide advice to a youngster on parallel parking your best bet are a series of sizes. These can vary greatly because each seems to be based on a different standard. In addition, many people will routine ignore good planning and try to jam as many cars into as small of a space as possible.

    Flint will have older neighborhoods with tight parking. It will also have areas with very generous parking. A parent should be able to supervise their child in teaching them the correct way to drive without few issues from police, who are generally VERY supportive of parents who actually teach their kids to drive responsibly. I'd drive him/her to the side street and let them practice once you feel they have mastered the cones at Courtland, Genessee Valley, U of M, Mott, or whatever large parking lot you find that is empty on an off peak time.

    Be sure that you don't stop with driving, an independant person needs to know how to get around by bus or the proper rules for operating a bicycle as well. On behalf of other Michiganders I thank you for teaching your childen in a responsible manner.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  22. #22
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    Failure to Stripe Causes Loss of Parking Rather Than Flexibility

    "Again, why do you need a length? Where I come from, there are no pavement markings delineating on-street parking and it works itself out just fine."

    I'm glad to hear that someone lives in parking utopia. In the real world, our community has tried not having designated lengths for nearly 2 years now and it has been a total disaster. The flexibility and efficiency we hoped to achieve by allowing cars to utilize the space as necessary according to the size of the vehicle, has, in practice, been replaced by huge gaps of unused space between vehicles. This space is wasted, in that it is just under what a vehicle would need to park and significantly more than would be required for maneuvering. Multiply this "gapping", as we call it, along a several block area and you have given up parking that could have been used by 15-20 cars. Multiply this across a neighborhood or shopping district, and you have lost a significant parking resource.

    This gapping isn't always caused by inattentive drivers failing to use the space efficiently, although this is a problem. It also occurs as a result of the randomness of vehicle size. For example, a large vehicle requiring 25 feet departs and is replaced by a compact requiring only 17 feet, leaving an 8 foot gap that is not usable by anyone else. This accordion effect takes place all day long, creating a haphazard and inefficient use of the space. In an effort to reclaim the wasted space, our community is planning to designate the length of parallel parking places. This will give us a consistent number of parking places laid out in a manner that will best exploit the available space. We are currently analyzing the length and width specifications employed in other communities to inform our decision regarding space sizing, hence our participation on this site.

  23. #23
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    ITE/MUTCD

    Where maneuvering is included in the space, the length ranges from 22 to 26 ft. Where maneuvering is marked separately, the space length is 20 ft.

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