Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Off-street parking in downtown areas

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Edwardsville, IL
    Posts
    17

    Off-street parking in downtown areas

    My first posting on Cyburbia!

    I am the City Planner for a Midwestern suburban city (pop 25K) and we are in the process of updating our Comp Plan. Right now, I am reviewing our downtown area, thinking of ways to improve its walkability and pedestrian friendliness over the next 10-15 years or so. In doing so, it occurred to me that there is just entirely too much land area dedicated to off-street parking (100% of which is surface parking). I'd like to back my hunch up with some hard numbers comparing my city with others.

    So, can anyone help with this question: What is the typical % land used for off-street surface parking in downtown areas in small to mid-sized cities (20k to 100k)? Anyone ever done a surface analysis on their own city or have a suggested resource/article that might give some general guidelines?

    And, does anyone have any thoughts on whether the construction of a new parking structure has resulted in more efficient land use in the downtown area (e.g. former surface parking lots have become viable downtown buildings)

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,107
    I don't think there would be a typical percentage. There are a lot of factors that would come into play.

    First of all, is there on-street parking that is available in reasonable enough amounts?

    Are there a number of businesses that already have adequete parking?

    Is this tied into a larger network of alternative transportation (bike, paths, bus routes, passenger rail)

    Density of the downtown, is it mostly low-rise or is it hi-rise?

    Does the downtown have a sizable residential population? If so, is this single family or apartment style?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    2,938
    Prepare a map highlighting the parking areas. It may wake some people. I am against parking structures in smaller towns--they just do not fit.Think about developing low walls and landscaping along the parking lot street frontages: much more pedestrian friendly. Also try to eliminate curb cuts along the main drag, they kill pedestrian movement in more ways than one.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Edwardsville, IL
    Posts
    17
    >>>First of all, is there on-street parking that is available in reasonable enough amounts?

    No, We're the County Seat so there is considerable daytime traffic/parking needed for County employees, County court appearances, etc. Surface lots probably run to 100% capacity in some areas and 75% capacity in less centrally located areas during the week days.


    >>>Are there a number of businesses that already have adequete parking?

    There are a few private lots but my hope was that these lots would go away if a public parking structure was erected and transition to a higher and better use.

    Everyone worries about having "adequate parking" even though our regs allow for no parking requirements in the "downtown" zoning district. So, private surface lots are common, esp in the "transitional area" where former SF homes now converting to law offices/dental/insurrance, etc

    >>>Is this tied into a larger network of alternative transportation (bike, paths, bus routes, passenger rail)

    No passenger rail but we have good access to all the others, including a bus station with connections to the wider metro area smack dab in the middle of downtown. Biking and walking aren't hugely popular with weekday workers yet though (another goal of the Comp Plan I'm working on) so it willl be awhile before alt-modes of travel are helping to reduce parking needs

    >>>Density of the downtown, is it mostly low-rise or is it hi-rise?

    Low-rise, three stories max for the most part. Upper levels are residential in some cases, office-type uses in others. Tallest buildings are the County buildings at 5 stories.

    >>>Does the downtown have a sizable residential population? If so, is this single family or apartment style?

    Yes, for a town of 25K, I would say there is a sizable residential pop in the "downtown" area. Mostly single-family bungalows and historic structures which hem in our ability to "expand" the downtown area, so I was looking for ways to use the downtown land we have more efficiently.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian kw5280's avatar
    Registered
    May 2009
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    64
    I'm curious if all the current off street parking is paid or free.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,893
    I often use a very simple analysis in downtown situations:
    1) What is the square footage of the commercial area in the downtown?
    2) How many parking stalls are there downtown, including on-street parking?
    3) What is the ration of parking to commercial area?
    4) How does this compare to a) the city's ordinance, and b) the typical Walmart?
    5) Is the parking distributed so that there is a reasonable amount of parking within 300 feet of every business entrance?

    There are other things you can do, like take parking surveys of the lots you think can be candidates for redevelopment. For example, if you have 100 stalls and you find that never more than 20 are being used, on different days and at different times, then that can support your case for redevelopment.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Edwardsville, IL
    Posts
    17
    Really great advice, Cardinal. A very sensible and logical approach which I'm going to use! Thanks!

    BTW kw5280, *all* parking downtown is FREE in my city, off-street or otherwise.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Oklahoma City
    Posts
    2,904
    Our city does not have any requirements or mandates for downtown parking. We provide on-street parking. The rest we leave up to the market. Eventually there will be economic incentives to build over existing parking lots and it will be financially profitable to build pay lots or structured parking.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2003
    Location
    A Dog in a Hat
    Posts
    449
    Quote Originally posted by I Rockaway View post
    BTW kw5280, *all* parking downtown is FREE in my city, off-street or otherwise.
    This might be of interest to you:
    http://www.trb.org/Conferences/RoadP...ions/Shoup.ppt

  10. #10
    Cyburbian kw5280's avatar
    Registered
    May 2009
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    64
    That's some good information in the slide presentation. I wish I could have heard the talking points behind some of those graphs. Paid parking was one of the first things I thought of when I Rockaway mentioned they were looking for a way to improve walkability. The other reason I asked was because if the off street parking was paid there might be some resistence by those lot owners to a central parking structure. But there will be just as much resistence by the residents to suddenly implement a parking fee especially to do business at the county seat.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2003
    Location
    A Dog in a Hat
    Posts
    449
    Quote Originally posted by kw5280 View post
    That's some good information in the slide presentation. I wish I could have heard the talking points behind some of those graphs. Paid parking was one of the first things I thought of when I Rockaway mentioned they were looking for a way to improve walkability. The other reason I asked was because if the off street parking was paid there might be some resistence by those lot owners to a central parking structure. But there will be just as much resistence by the residents to suddenly implement a parking fee especially to do business at the county seat.
    If you want more info, the presentation was largely based on the book "The High Cost of Free Parking" by Donald Shoup:
    http://myapa.planning.org/APAStore/S...lt.aspx?p=1814

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Edwardsville, IL
    Posts
    17
    I certainly see the point FueledByRamen is making with the High Cost of Free Parking powerpoint. This info, coupled with some more info I received today on just how much land is devoted to off-street parking in our downtown area has me thinking of ways to stem the tide of surface parking on our most valuable land.

    Which leads to my follow up question: We did a review of how much land is devoted to off-street surface parking in our B-1 (Central Business Distirct) area. The number surprised me: 28%! This does not count on-street parking spaces which would very likely push us over the 30% mark (or more).

    While I think that number is high, I don't have anything to compare it to or any guidelines which suggest a typical percentage. Again, we're talking about an essentially "suburban" area with with a traditional downtown business district. I'm curious what others might come up with in terms of %'s or whether there are any suggested resources to review which collects this data.

    thanks!

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 4
    Last post: 09 Nov 2012, 1:51 PM
  2. Replies: 15
    Last post: 20 Sep 2012, 9:01 AM
  3. Replies: 5
    Last post: 01 Nov 2010, 1:55 PM
  4. Replies: 7
    Last post: 12 Sep 2005, 1:05 PM
  5. Replies: 11
    Last post: 12 May 2005, 2:16 PM