Municipalities should consider reducing and revising parking in their transit-served areas. Doing so can open up additional land for better land use and make it easier to walk, bike and use transit by reducing the need and desire to drive. Below are four common parking strategies to consider.
Parking strategies for transit-oriented development
Off Street Parking
Off-street parking is frequently overbuilt and underutilized, which is cause for municipalities to right-size parking requirements in transit areas. This additional expense for an unused resource discourages development and infill opportunities.
Some municipalities remove parking minimums altogether from zoning requirements and allow the developer and the market to determine what is an acceptable minimum amount of parking. Other municipalities implement parking maximums, placing a limit on how many parking spaces can be included as a part of redevelopment or new development in TOD areas.
RTA Partners with Evanston to Revise Parking Needs
(Image courtesy of Downtown Evanston, 501(c)(6))
Studying usage in their downtown, Evanston found that their TOD area required building 1.25 to 2 parking spaces per unit when peak parking demand was only 1 parking space per unit.
Exempting the transit district from parking requirements under current zoning law.
Supply bike parking and/or car share parking instead of private vehicle parking at a set ratio.
Provide development parking credits against the zoning parking requirements, based on proximity to transit, municipal parking availability, or shared parking opportunities
The average car is parked 95% of the day. Municipalities can allow for shared parking agreements and prioritize vehicles shared by multiple households to take advantage of this and reduce overall parking demand.
How does this work?
Many land uses have specific parking utilization needs. Some need parking during the day while others need it overnight. Some on weekdays and others on weekends. Municipalities can encourage shared parking agreements between property owners who have nearby parking but opposite parking demand needs. This approach can further reduce parking requirements in mixed-use developments and in TOD areas.
Require developers to provide space for car sharing where tenants who need a car can share one or more vehicles. One carshare vehicle (such as Zipcar or Getaround) can replace up to 20 private cars.
Pace Vanpool provides vanpooling vehicles at a Metra and Pace parking lots for passengers who have a common origin or destination to use.
Another way to improve parking demand is to institute strategies that manage existing parking, whether it’s on-street or off-street. These can include:
Develop Curb Management Policies
Manage each segment or zone of curb space in high-traffic transit served areas for various competing demands for curb space. Doing so can ensure dedicated space for parking.
Offer pickup and drop-off areas for transportation-network companies, establish delivery and loading zones for commerce, and dedicate space for shared and micro-mobility parking, and still preserves access to transit stops and stations.