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Thread: Parking ratios

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    771

    Parking ratios

    I'm looking for information on best practice precedents for TOD parking ratios.

    The suburban area in which the site sits is an office-, retail- and residential-oriented TOD, with a very large suburban office component as well as a quite a bit of retail and multi-unit housing, developed beginning from the late 1970s. The TOD is already a regional transit hub. It will ultimately be served by several modal systems, several of which don't currently exist and are under planning or construction - urban rail (imminent), commuter rail (exists), BRT (coming soon), high frequency local bus - 30+ routes (exists), regional bus (exists), in addition to direct interstate highway access. Current transit modal share for the area is around 15%, although some commercial parcels are now reporting ratios as high as 30-35% or so for their workers and customers. The city would like to see the average transit modal share increased to the mid-30s or higher, over time, and even higher for new development immediately adjacent to rail links. Currently, the area has a parking ratio of about 4-5 spaces per 1,000 sq ft for office and retail and between 1 to 2.5 spaces per housing unit (all multi-unit), but that's biased toward older projects from the 70s and early 80s. Current code specifies parking at 3 spaces per 1,000 sq ft for new commercial construction (both minimum and maximum), specifies a minimum of 1 space per housing unit irrespective of unit size and allows for 20% sharing between residential and commercial on top of this.

    The client (a developer who controls about half the land in the TOD, all of which they plan to either develop anew or redevelop) thinks these current code ratios will still require them to construct way too much parking, citing that some similar TODs around the country now allow for ratios of or below 1 space per 1,000 sq ft (they cite stuff they know about in NoVA, etc). Their transportation planner believes that 3/1,000 is doable but they're pretty conservative and unwilling to recommend anything more aggressive than current code. Client disagrees and wants me, as the land-use person and urban designer, to build a case for lower ratios. The city has decided they hate parking and are willing to discuss.

    What do people think? How low is too low? Can one go to zero or near zero for new construction, based on the unspecified development of new commercial garages? Any precedents?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2004
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    368
    A number of new residential projects in the CBD here met their aggressively low parking requirements by reserving space in nearby parking garages, resulting in parking garages with empty space as they ended up needed less parking than even the low numbers the developers were pushing.

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