Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Parking requirements and their roots

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,627
    Blog entries
    3

    Parking requirements and their roots

    I think I had an "AHA!" moment after seeing photos with shopping centers and supermarkets from the 1950s, their parking lots packed even though the weather and lack of decorations provide evidence that it 's nowhere near Christmas. It's been years since I've seen a completely full parking lot at any supermarket, mall, plaza or big box retailer, even on Black Friday.

    Thruway Plaza in Buffalo. Nowhere near Christmas, obviously. Designated parking spaces are a communist plot!


    Another 1950s scene.


    In 1970, in the United States, there was 11 square feet of retail space per person. In 2005, there's 20.2 square feet of GFA per person. The opposite of that ... in 1970, there were more shoppers per square foot of GFA than today. More shoppers = more intensive use of retail space than today.

    Shopper behavior was much different in the 1950s and 1960s than today. With grocery shopping, for instance, instead of a weekly trip, housewives -- remember them? -- made grocery runs daily or every other day.

    Shopping centers also had a much different tenant mix, with tenants that tended to resemble what would be found in neighborhood commercial districts. In regional centers and malls from the era, supermarkets, banks, liquor stores, bakeries, locksmiths and other daily errand go-to stores were far more common as tenants than today.

    Are today's parking requirements rooted in the day-to-day reality of the 1950s? I'm probably wrong, right?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian WhenIGrowUp's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Atlanta-ish
    Posts
    71
    You're probably not wrong, it's probably vestigial habits of planning days gone by, which once changed will cause mass hysteria amongst the owners and developers of these stores.

    "What do you mean 'Maximum Allowed' parking spaces? I need 1,680 parking spaces for this Walmart!!!"

    We're going over our antiquated and --honestly-- over-parked parking structure here, and I can tell you it's somewhat a hornets nest. Residents want less parking and smaller parking lots. Businesses want acres of asphalt.

    The City seeks a decrease in the minimum required, a maximum on the number allowed, and the resultant space (that which is not utilized for parking) to be transformed into landscaped area (trees, shrubs & turf) to conceal what's there.

    The developers are thinking: 'Wow, less required parking area means we can make the building that much bigger!'

    That thumping you hear is my head repeatedly bouncing off the desk.

  3. #3
    (for now) Frozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,707
    Interesting thesis Dan.

    I think you're on the right track regarding the per capita retail square footage being much less in the past then today, and therefore more parking demand at the limited number of retail properties.

    But one thing that has been a thorn in our side lately is that we are pretty sure our medical office parking requirements are too low. Unfortunately, in our experience the medical uses have the lowest rate of parking turnover of most uses we permit.

    It'll be interesting to see how this thread progresses.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  4. #4
    Some time ago, someone on one of these threads said they planned for the hundred year parking event. It is a wonder that in these days, even before the recession, one could go months without ever seeing parking lots close to full.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Oklahoma City
    Posts
    2,904
    Quote Originally posted by WhenIGrowUp View post
    You're probably not wrong, it's probably vestigial habits of planning days gone by, which once changed will cause mass hysteria amongst the owners and developers of these stores.

    "What do you mean 'Maximum Allowed' parking spaces? I need 1,680 parking spaces for this Walmart!!!"

    We're going over our antiquated and --honestly-- over-parked parking structure here, and I can tell you it's somewhat a hornets nest. Residents want less parking and smaller parking lots. Businesses want acres of asphalt.

    The City seeks a decrease in the minimum required, a maximum on the number allowed, and the resultant space (that which is not utilized for parking) to be transformed into landscaped area (trees, shrubs & turf) to conceal what's there.

    The developers are thinking: 'Wow, less required parking area means we can make the building that much bigger!'

    That thumping you hear is my head repeatedly bouncing off the desk.
    I guess Texas is different. Here it seems to be the citizens who want increased parking. Downtown business owners want more parking. People want to be able to park right in front of their entrance, even downtown, and if they can't, then by God there's a huge parking problem (despite our parking studies showing our downtown area to be relatively efficient for parking with only a minor shortage during lunch rush). But non-downtown businesses and developers don't care. Many would actually prefer to not have to build more parking lots because it saves them money. The only reason a good 50-60% of the retail develop(ers/ment) I've seen since starting here only builds so much parking because our code require(s/d) it.

  6. #6
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,434
    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    I guess Texas is different. Here it seems to be the citizens who want increased parking. Downtown business owners want more parking. People want to be able to park right in front of their entrance, even downtown, and if they can't, then by God there's a huge parking problem (despite our parking studies showing our downtown area to be relatively efficient for parking with only a minor shortage during lunch rush). But non-downtown businesses and developers don't care. Many would actually prefer to not have to build more parking lots because it saves them money. The only reason a good 50-60% of the retail develop(ers/ment) I've seen since starting here only builds so much parking because our code require(s/d) it.
    I think Dan's 3rd Law of Parking Relativity sounds plausible. You can certainly see through the standard engineering references that best practices are slow to adapt to change, so it stands to reason that this would occur with parking standards as well. More square feet of retail at a lower intensity of use by customers should result in a reduced parking standard. I know the parking standards at my prior employer were all kinds of screwed up. To play devil's advocate though, in the 1950s and 1960s you had far fewer multiple-car families and we weren't quite as auto-reliant as we are now.

    Chuckling quietly... we did a parking study on our downtown, except we also tracked some of the license plates. Owners had been complaining that there were no spaces for customer parking. It turns out the people taking up the spaces were the owners and their employees that weren't parking on the alley. I swear, some people deserve to have their businesses struggle.

    To me, the best way to assess whether you have a parking problem is to install parking meters. If the spaces still fill up, then you know you can justify the expense of a municipal surface parking lot somewhere (make sure it is of sufficient dimension to place a parking structure later), or perhaps go directly to a parking structure. The parking meters can provide some funding toward parking improvements and enforcement, or go towards a PID or something like that.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian cellophane's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2009
    Location
    louisville, ky
    Posts
    285
    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Shopping centers also had a much different tenant mix, with tenants that tended to resemble what would be found in neighborhood commercial districts. In regional centers and malls from the era, supermarkets, banks, liquor stores, bakeries, locksmiths and other daily errand go-to stores were far more common as tenants than today.
    i think this is the bigger issue. now if you want to make multiple stops you have to go to 15 different places. best buy is over here, kroger is over there and home depot is farther down the road. actually as i write this maybe the issue is big box stores more than more varied developments. 50,000 SF stores make it very difficult to park in one place and go buy what you need from three or four different stores because there are 3 miles between doors, even if the stores share common walls.

    and as SR and Okie said, people expect to be able to park at the front door everywhere they go and if they cant then there isnt enough parking.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    West Valley, AZ
    Posts
    3,895
    I this epiphany a couple years back when driving a stretch of road in a inner-ring Chicago suburb. Since then, I've noticed the same phenomina elsewhere. The 1850-1930s main street began to morph in the 1940s. New "main streets" consist of low-rise in-line retail buildnigs setback about 40 feet from the sidewalk/roadway edge. This provided enough froom to get a one-way access drive and a row of angled parking in along the front of the buildings. This instance is where I believe parking standards arose from.

    Melrose Park - North Ave
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  9. #9
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,627
    Blog entries
    3
    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    But one thing that has been a thorn in our side lately is that we are pretty sure our medical office parking requirements are too low. Unfortunately, in our experience the medical uses have the lowest rate of parking turnover of most uses we permit.
    Medical office is an odd one. I'm finding that medical uses are going into shopping centers, regular office buildings, and so on. Medical office parking tends to be more intensive than regular office, but it might complicate things to regulate it separately. If you apply professional office standards to a building, and the only tenants that seem interested are medical/dental, the landlord is out of luck if the parking provided is based on a professional office maximum.

    Quote Originally posted by cellophane View post
    i think this is the bigger issue. now if you want to make multiple stops you have to go to 15 different places. best buy is over here, kroger is over there and home depot is farther down the road.
    Playing the devil's advocate, I find that retail today seems to lend itself more to one-stop shopping than in the past. When I was a kid in the 1970s, I remember errands with Mom; there were multi-stop trips to a small supermarket, pharmacy, meat market, bakery, bank, and often someplace like a dry cleaner. Today, supermarkets are much larger, and they often contain banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners.

    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    The 1850-1930s main street began to morph in the 1940s. New "main streets" consist of low-rise in-line retail buildnigs setback about 40 feet from the sidewalk/roadway edge. This provided enough froom to get a one-way access drive and a row of angled parking in along the front of the buildings.
    This arrangement is very common along Mayfield and Cedar Roads through Cleveland's inner ring eastern suburbs (South Euclid, University Heights, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights), all of which exploded in the late 1940s and early 1950s. This is less common in Buffalo, where post-WWII retail development took the form of large shopping plazas (the biggest of which are all still open, and mostly unchanged except for architectural upgrades). Buffalo's oldest shopping plaza, University Plaza, built in 1940, had just two rows of parking in the front, but a massive lot in the back. Same thing for many of east suburban Cleveland's early 1950s centers.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 22
    Last post: 28 Jul 2009, 3:51 PM
  2. Parking Alternative parking requirements
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 7
    Last post: 29 Aug 2007, 5:21 PM
  3. Parking requirements for jails
    Transportation Planning
    Replies: 7
    Last post: 01 Feb 2006, 9:11 PM
  4. Replies: 2
    Last post: 12 Oct 2005, 3:45 PM
  5. Parking Parking Requirements
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 15
    Last post: 18 Feb 2004, 6:36 PM