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Thread: On-street parking and streetscape quality?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian graciela's avatar
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    On-street parking and streetscape quality?

    This is a bit trivial but have any of you ever reflected on the the effect that the style of on-street parking can have on the percieved quality of an urban sidewalk/streetscape? In an urban setting, my opinion has always been on-street parking=good. I never really cared if it was parallel or angled. I always let the site/context/traffic patterns, etc. dictate the form of the onstreet parking.

    Is one more institutional than the other? Maybe angled is more informal? What are your thoughts/
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    On street parking provides a buffer for pedsetrians from the moving traffic. The police I chat with do not like angle parking; business people adamantly prefer it.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Angled parking can be more dangerous and requires a wider ROW to pull it off. People back out of angled parking and this is the potential danger for other moving cars. Parallel parkers tend to pull right into the moving traffic moving forward.

    I don't see that these differences really impact pedestrians in any significant way in terms of one being better than another. Both buffer pedestrians from street traffic. Businesses like them because it provides more spaces per curb distance. We use them a lot in the rather dense (and with small retail spaces) Nob Hill area of Albuquerque. They work very well, in my opinion (this area is economically probably the most vibrant in town with a very high percentage of locally owned businesses), but again, you have to have the ROW to pull it off.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian graciela's avatar
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    We have the ROW to pull it off and the majority of the downtown area has angled parking. We are not really concerned with volume of parking, the project is all about creating a nice pedestrian/gathering space. I don't think that having parallel parking on this section of the street (it is also along a civic property) would hurt. We can make the sidewalk a bit wider which will buy more space for events and such.

    I like the idea of reverse angled parking. That seems so much safer! It is a shame that my state does not require front tags on cars.
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  5. #5

    Parallel preferred

    Parallel parking is much more preferred, IMO. Reducing the amount of space in an area that is dedicated to auto movement/storage and trading it for wider sidewalks, landscape, etc., is a way of making an area more pedestrian friendly. I'd also argue that in urban settings, parking need is overblown by businesses, etc. An attractive pedestrian environment is much more important; I've noticed that businesses often raise the need for close-by parking when the pedestrian environment nearby is unattractive/uncomfortable - in other words, no one is going to walk two blocks from their parking to their destination because the walk is no good.

    My two cents.

    - Matt.

  6. #6
    My completely subjective opinion... I enjoy walking down a street with parallel parking much more than I enjoy walking down a street with angled parking. I feel like I'm walking through a parking lot when there is angled parking. But I might just be biased since angled parking isn't common around me.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    Parallel parking requires better drivers! That's a reason merchant's prefer angle in addition to the more spaces per block ad wahday said. I like the look/feel of parallel better. I don't remember ever seeing angle parking in Hungary, but then they have better drivers IMO. It is difficult to get a license (the drivers handbook to study for the license runs to a typical paperback novel size) and it is not too difficult to loose it for life. The test is more than a quick drive around the block. And you have to be proficient with parking. I think that we no longer require parallel parking on the test here in FL. Of course, here we can renue our license by mail.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jkellerfsu's avatar
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    I think angled parking looks like a used car lot

  9. #9
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian b3nr's avatar
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    Its not entirely subjective, quite a bit of research has gone into the question of on street parking in Europe. The UK's (excluding Scotland through one of those strange nuances of devolution) 'Manual for Streets' concisely summarises this. On street parking, or rather a good mix of on and off street parking is actively encouraged especially in residential streets.

    The positives of on street parking are that it is a common resource, catering for residents, visitors and service vehicles in a good manner; its the most efficient way of parking in that it takes up little space; adds activity to the street; typically well overlooked and adding to security; always the most popular way of parking; provides a useful barrier between pedestrians and vehicles; potentially can create blocks within the perimeter blocks that are free of cars.

    On street parking is of course unavoidable in residential areas built before cars:

    Parallel parking is most common and you only need 2m width, each paces ideally being 6m long... of course the beauty of on street is it is entirely informal so long vehicles take up more and shorter vehicles can squeeze in the gaps!

    Commercial on street... well the same, its efficient and adds to vitality. Removing on street parking is a sure way of getting local business angry, but research carried out in this city to justify turning parking into Bus priority found that the majority of custom was transit or walking and not car. The car parking was mostly longer term parking for employees of local business or users of services like doctors surgeries.

    Anyway, a very bad picture of commercial parking:


    /edit: does anyone know how to shrink pitcures?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    One option is for the city to purchase some properties for construction of an off-street parking structure. This would take cars off the street, allow for landscaping along the street or another lane for traffic movement, and eliminating parking right in front of the stores would provide better exposure for the stores.

    It would also reduce traffic of those circling the block trying to get a space closer to the front door of the shop.

    This should also appeal to those who think walking to stores is a good thing.

    Thanks for the photos.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Another thought: angle parking is treacherous for bicycling. However, in the vast open spaces of western Kansas, I have seen many, many drivers who honestly do not know how to parallel park.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    True that ^

    But then again in the vast spaces of Kansas you have room for sidewalk + 'segregated' bike path + parking + roadway.

    BTW, Mass. Street in Alwrence (KS) ahs angled aprking out front and (smallish) parking lots at the back. I always thought that worked pretty well.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Imagination:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2179373/slid...entry/2179690/

    This link is really discussing parking garages in general, and this is slide #11. There are some really obnoxious parking garages in this slide show. This is a photo of a garage in Miami Beach where the "historic" period architecture is allowed to remain at the first level, then the six level parking garage above is covered with trellised planting.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian graciela's avatar
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    Thanks for posting that link. I sent that out to the parking deck group I am part of. We are trying to find some really interesting examples of parking decks. Our group will be putting together some design criteria for our new downtown deck that will be built via public private partnership. It will be a very interesting process as this will be the first project of this type in our city.
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  16. #16
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Life and death of great pattern languages

  17. #17
    Cyburbian graciela's avatar
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    That new street garage looks really nice! Thanks for the link!

    One of my biggest challenges is figuring out how to get away from the "brick and tan" developments that are popping up everywhere around here. For some reason, it is very popular!

    Our public/private parking deck is going to be a very interesting project.
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  18. #18
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Angled parking can be more dangerous and requires a wider ROW to pull it off. People back out of angled parking and this is the potential danger for other moving cars. Parallel parkers tend to pull right into the moving traffic moving forward.
    In New South Wales parking regulations allow you to mandate "Rear to Kerb" if you wish. Applied to angled (including 90 degree) parking it ensures cars re-enter the traffic system looking forwards.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian RPfresh's avatar
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    I think that if you match angled parking with a light system that supplies breaks in traffic you could cut down on the danger factor. One of SF's Chinatowns has lights at every few intersections and it's only a matter of waiting for a clear stretch of road to safely pull out of an angled space.

  20. #20
    streetside parking may be common, but it usually hides kids from motorists' eyes, resulting in countless injuries when kids run out into the drives - and how can one prevent a kid from doing exactly that?
    to enhance visibility, german planners are now relocating bicycle paths out of the walkways, and into the driveways, and elsewise encourage common flow of traffic.

  21. #21
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    Parallel with a Twist

    I like parallel parking with small planting inlets every 5-7 cars to break up the pattern along each street side. The same planting inlets can be used at the intersections to shorten the walk across the street for pedestrians and slow the traffic movement.

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