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Old 07-22-2014, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,169 posts, read 29,669,595 times
Reputation: 26656

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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
Parking requirements are usually developed taking the projected use of a space into consideration. Sometimes square footage is used as a marker, sometimes peak customer numbers.

A retail store would be subject to the first, a restaurant to the second.

Residential parking is sometimes determined by the number of bedrooms a unit has and sometimes a flat number per unit.

We used 1 1/2 spaces per unit for years even when real life was showing that it should be higher. Eventually we changed it to 2.

As a note, developers/builders absolutely hate providing parking. They try to avoid building it no matter the situation and go to unimaginable lengths to get out of the requirements. Which is why, although you don't like it Jade, zoning sets up minimums.
Zoning sets up minimums or maximums, but quite a lot of the decision making is totally arbitrary. Let's talk about your residential example. (See my previous post about the High Cost of Free Parking book, there is an entire chapter about how minimums are setup, most of the time people just pulled numbers out of the air.)

Let's say we have 3 projects, each with 100 units, and a similar mix of unit sizes

Project A: there are 2 subway stops within a 2 block radius, and a busy main street with all of the important amenities. The subway stops are served by the two trunk lines in the rail system. Within 3 blocks there are a dozen frequent bus lines. 50% of the existing residents in the neighborhood don't have a car. The subways access half of the main job centers of the region, and the location is 1/2 mile from a major job center.

Project B: The nearest transit station is 1 mile from the proposed site, and only runs once and hour. The nearest commercial district is 2 miles away via the freeway. The nearest job center is 4 miles away on the freeway, and most job centers are within 10 miles. 90% of the area residents drive.

Project C: This location is about 1 mile from the main subway station that serves as the transfer station for all of the lines. The nearest commercial district is 1/2 mile away and well stocked with key amenities. A new commercial park is being constructed 1 mile away, in conjunction with a new subway line. This location will be 1/4 mile from a stop on the new subway line. The subway line is opening in 2 years and the project will be completed in 3 years. 25% of the residents in the neighborhood do not have a car.

In many places, the parking minimums for these 3 projects would be exactly the same. But easily for project A, the developer could reduce the parking spaces, and increase the number of units with that space. Most people in the neighborhood do not drive, and people without a car would be attracted to the location with easy transit, shopping and job access. Project B would attract more drivers, because of the neighborhood scale and location. Project C is meant to be a cornerstone for new transit oriented development and is expected to attract people who want to ride transit. The community is hoping to be more transit friendly in the future, and will have easy access to tons of transit amenities in short order. By the time the building opens, a new subway will be complete, and they will have easy access to it.

Clearly my examples are overly simplified, but this sort of thing happens often, a project should clearly have lower parking minimums with the city's current priorities and the realities of the locations, but zoning sets up a poor precedent.

So there is no one size fits all zoning, even in the same city or neighborhood. And zoning rarely gets updated with a neighborhoods new priorities, in a timely manner. My city has about 2 dozen zoning designations, each with different parking requirements. Clearly that is really confusing, and doesn't always well reflect any neighborhood trends and so on. For example, we have a BRT project that is set to open in 2017, but the surrounding zoning is still mostly super low-rise on the corridor. They want to up it to 5 story buildings on the BRT street, but it will take a while.

 
Old 07-22-2014, 03:28 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
33,894 posts, read 42,123,479 times
Reputation: 43298
Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Yeap, and they hate the minimums because it increases cost( and risk) to the developer. The developer only cares that he can sell it. He does not care how unfit or limited the building without the parking is. So long as it sells no problem. The community around said building without parking suffers the consequences of lack of off the street parking and increases in illegal parking. Now if you are an single office worker doing 9-5 when transit is most available then not an problem.

It is an problem when you truly need the car. Factory workers for instance often work unscheduled overtime and being dependent on transit is not viable esp. when you need to be at work at 6 a.m.. Parents and other care givers have time issues and so even if public transit is available it might not be attractive due to time constraints. Construction workers go from site to site and being dependent on transit is very limiting.
This is what some of the New Urbanists always ignore. Not everyone has a 9-5 office job.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 03:33 PM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,859,209 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Actually it is a little bit different. I have the book this stat came from. (It is like 900 pages, I won't be reading it. Hehehe.) It references a long terms study from if I recall correctly, tracking parking meter rates and availability in central business districts from like 1940 to 1980 or something. If you have a chance, you should definitely check out a talk by the author. It was so interesting, and we all know parking is a completely dry topic.

Anyway, you can look at SFPark as a good example.
http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancis...nt?oid=2319269
When parking prices reflect demand, everybody wins - Greater Greater Washington

Parking availability is a function of both the volume of parking and the price of parking. When parking is too cheap, people don't move their cars, and then prospective patrons can't find parking.

I am going to sum up the results of San Francisco's variable pricing experiment. It lasted about 2 years.
1. the average price at the meter decreased
2. parking turnover increased
3. the time to find a spot decreased by 50%

There are similar results found in all sorts of cities that have experimented with variable parking pricing models.

We have set up an expectation in our society that parking should be free, easy, and plentiful. And people take it for granted.

And I will tell you about what I used to do when I first moved into my apartment. I have a secure, dedicated spot. But when I moved in I had just gotten a new car, and my parking spot was really small. So I didn't really want to have to deal with concentrating really hard to park perfectly so I could get out and my neighbor could get in. So I started parking on the street. We only have monthly street sweeping, and there is no residential permit program. So I thought it was brilliant. I left my spot empty for most of that first year. And used it for when friends came to visit, so they didn't have to hunt down parking in my busy neighborhood. For me, there was no "risk" in using the street space, even though I had a private spot. Well as you can imagine, if I needed to pay for that street spot, well I would have sucked it up and used my garage spot.

Now I am not saying we should make driving impossible, but we do need to make alternatives passable. I've mentioned this many times before. I rarely drive to my city's downtown. I used to more, when it was less popular, and parking was really easy. Now it is more popular and busier, so I just hop on my bike or take the bus. Because that saves me time vs driving and looking for parking. There is no reason it can't work that way for more of us, more often: the alternative to driving is efficient and easy. Just like all that free parking at the strip mall.

My neighborhood "main street" has limited street parking. Some stores have a handful of spots in a private lot, but parking for the neighborhood is provided by a central lot and on the street. As a result people park once and walk the rest. Additionally, the banks, post office, and the grocery store open up their lots after hours to handle the bar/restaurant/evening traffic. This works well because we don't lose valuable commercial space to parking that is only used half the time, and the density keeps the streets busy enough to walk around all day and late into the evening with plenty of foot traffic. The main street wouldn't work if it had more parking lots and less stores/shops/restaurants/services.

We can't expect to have safe/walkable neighborhoods when most of the streetspace is covered with a dead zone like parking, that isn't used very much. We need to be a lot smarter about land use and sharing spaces.
Ah what you are describing is common. If there is enough demand for parking then places that don't need parking all-day will open up their lots. And banks, post offices don't usually have an lot of parking. Grocery store might but an grocery store's hours could be long(There are 24 hour stores and stores that might close at 10:00...too late for an restaurant. ). Sometimes restaurant and retail/office space share an lot but that is about it.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,169 posts, read 29,669,595 times
Reputation: 26656
Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
This is what some of the New Urbanists always ignore. Not everyone has a 9-5 office job.
Who is saying no one needs a car ever. There is a difference between not needing a car ever and not needing a car always. There will always be outliers. But we can "build" a society where lots of people have choices.

I had a job where I worked 10-7 for a while. But all of the good transit ended at 6:30. So there I went having to drive. Now if the good transit options ended at 8:30, well I could have taken transit, because that would have given me the leeway to finish up a project late, or stop for an errand, and still have plenty of time to make the train. Having a good system doesn't mean pleasing everyone all the time, but it does mean being pretty good for a lot of people.

Here is a good article on the rise of off-peak travel:
Far Beyond Rush Hour: The Incredible Rise of Off-Peak Public Transportation - CityLab

This passage sums it up really well:
Quote:
That's the main takeaway of a recent off-peak service analysis made on the Pascack Valley line of New Jersey Transit commuter rail. The agency introduced non-rush hour trains on that line in October 2007 seven inbound and six outbound where there'd been no off-peak service before. In June 2010, Devajyoti Deka of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center began conducting surveys and on-board focus groups with off-peak and peak riders alike, to see how the service change had influenced their behavior.

Without question, the addition of off-peak service on the Pascack Valley line took cars off the road. In a recent issue of Transportation, Deka and coauthor Thomas Marchwinski of NJT report savings of at least 12 million vehicle miles a year. More fascinating was the way off-peak trains affected rush-hour ridership. Roughly 5 percent of surveyed riders started using more peak trains once the off-peak service was introduced. And of all the passengers who said they'd go back to driving if off-peak service were cancelled, three in five were peak riders.

Deka believes that there's a psychological element to off-peak service that transit agencies fail to appreciate. If people know a train can take you back anytime you need, they're more willing to take the train in during rush hour in the morning. "They have this thing in the back of their mind that if they have to come back early they can come back early, or if they have to stay late they can stay late," says Deka.
It all really just goes back to options.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 03:39 PM
 
410 posts, read 389,142 times
Reputation: 495
There are certain businesses that will gladly exceed the minimum parking requirements. One that comes to mind is casinos. You will never have trouble finding free parking on the Las Vegas strip.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 03:43 PM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,859,209 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Zoning sets up minimums or maximums, but quite a lot of the decision making is totally arbitrary. Let's talk about your residential example. (See my previous post about the High Cost of Free Parking book, there is an entire chapter about how minimums are setup, most of the time people just pulled numbers out of the air.)

Let's say we have 3 projects, each with 100 units, and a similar mix of unit sizes

Project A: there are 2 subway stops within a 2 block radius, and a busy main street with all of the important amenities. The subway stops are served by the two trunk lines in the rail system. Within 3 blocks there are a dozen frequent bus lines. 50% of the existing residents in the neighborhood don't have a car. The subways access half of the main job centers of the region, and the location is 1/2 mile from a major job center.

Project B: The nearest transit station is 1 mile from the proposed site, and only runs once and hour. The nearest commercial district is 2 miles away via the freeway. The nearest job center is 4 miles away on the freeway, and most job centers are within 10 miles. 90% of the area residents drive.

Project C: This location is about 1 mile from the main subway station that serves as the transfer station for all of the lines. The nearest commercial district is 1/2 mile away and well stocked with key amenities. A new commercial park is being constructed 1 mile away, in conjunction with a new subway line. This location will be 1/4 mile from a stop on the new subway line. The subway line is opening in 2 years and the project will be completed in 3 years. 25% of the residents in the neighborhood do not have a car.

In many places, the parking minimums for these 3 projects would be exactly the same. But easily for project A, the developer could reduce the parking spaces, and increase the number of units with that space. Most people in the neighborhood do not drive, and people without a car would be attracted to the location with easy transit, shopping and job access. Project B would attract more drivers, because of the neighborhood scale and location. Project C is meant to be a cornerstone for new transit oriented development and is expected to attract people who want to ride transit. The community is hoping to be more transit friendly in the future, and will have easy access to tons of transit amenities in short order. By the time the building opens, a new subway will be complete, and they will have easy access to it.

Clearly my examples are overly simplified, but this sort of thing happens often, a project should clearly have lower parking minimums with the city's current priorities and the realities of the locations, but zoning sets up a poor precedent.

So there is no one size fits all zoning, even in the same city or neighborhood. And zoning rarely gets updated with a neighborhoods new priorities, in a timely manner. My city has about 2 dozen zoning designations, each with different parking requirements. Clearly that is really confusing, and doesn't always well reflect any neighborhood trends and so on. For example, we have a BRT project that is set to open in 2017, but the surrounding zoning is still mostly super low-rise on the corridor. They want to up it to 5 story buildings on the BRT street, but it will take a while.
The trouble is you can't count on the transit always being available. It's hours could change, the subway station could close and sometimes just at not easily done by subway(How many people are going to take an EL ride for Groceries....they usually pay the higher price at the closer store if you are dependent on transit. ). Also jobs are spread all over town, not just in job centers...people have to be able to easily and quickly access them too. I live across the street form an School. While there is plenty of transit available if you relied on it you would be walking at least 2 blocks in all kinds of weather daily.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 03:51 PM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,859,209 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Who is saying no one needs a car ever. There is a difference between not needing a car ever and not needing a car always. There will always be outliers. But we can "build" a society where lots of people have choices.

I had a job where I worked 10-7 for a while. But all of the good transit ended at 6:30. So there I went having to drive. Now if the good transit options ended at 8:30, well I could have taken transit, because that would have given me the leeway to finish up a project late, or stop for an errand, and still have plenty of time to make the train. Having a good system doesn't mean pleasing everyone all the time, but it does mean being pretty good for a lot of people.

Here is a good article on the rise of off-peak travel:
Far Beyond Rush Hour: The Incredible Rise of Off-Peak Public Transportation - CityLab

This passage sums it up really well:


It all really just goes back to options.
However off-peak transit is more expensive per passenger because there are fewer passengers and off-peak transit can slow down. At night some CTA buses routes have service frequencies of 30 mins. apart. Imagine getting off work at 8 and having to wait 30 mins. for the next bus at night in an unsafe location when you could have driven home in that same 30 min. period.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 03:56 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,003 posts, read 102,592,596 times
Reputation: 33059
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
But in most locales, developers aren't allowed to build as much parking as they feel like. They are subject to parking minimums. The actual amount of parking needed is dictated by the city not empirical evidence. There are some projects that would be well served not to have parking, and others that need more parking. But that is actually pretty variable.

We don't have parking minimums downtown (I think), and there are buildings with parking and buildings without. The market decides. I haven't seen an appreciable difference in time on the market or selling price in the buildings at all. One building I can think of is actually more expensive than the one up the street that has deeded parking. It didn't have any problems selling out. And for people who wanted parking, they worked out a special deal with a nearby garage. This part of town basically has no overnight street parking, so there was no "street space" for anyone to go to anyway.

My issue isn't with developers choosing how to price their units and provide parking as they see fit, but the mandate via zoning rules on how much or how little parking should be provided for a building. The "market" should sort it out with actual evidence, it shouldn't be dictated by the arbitrary guesses and mandates in the zoning.
They're subject to parking minimums (they can always provide more!) b/c otherwise they'd try to get by with as little as possible. It's sort of like how they had to be told to have running water, heat and electrical connections or they didn't build units with those amenities 100 years ago. You can argue health, whatever, but it's the principal of the issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Actually it is a little bit different. I have the book this stat came from. (It is like 900 pages, I won't be reading it. Hehehe.) It references a long terms study from if I recall correctly, tracking parking meter rates and availability in central business districts from like 1940 to 1980 or something. If you have a chance, you should definitely check out a talk by the author. It was so interesting, and we all know parking is a completely dry topic.

Anyway, you can look at SFPark as a good example.
http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancis...nt?oid=2319269
When parking prices reflect demand, everybody wins - Greater Greater Washington

Parking availability is a function of both the volume of parking and the price of parking. When parking is too cheap, people don't move their cars, and then prospective patrons can't find parking.

I am going to sum up the results of San Francisco's variable pricing experiment. It lasted about 2 years.
1. the average price at the meter decreased
2. parking turnover increased
3. the time to find a spot decreased by 50%

There are similar results found in all sorts of cities that have experimented with variable parking pricing models.

We have set up an expectation in our society that parking should be free, easy, and plentiful. And people take it for granted.

And I will tell you about what I used to do when I first moved into my apartment. I have a secure, dedicated spot. But when I moved in I had just gotten a new car, and my parking spot was really small. So I didn't really want to have to deal with concentrating really hard to park perfectly so I could get out and my neighbor could get in. So I started parking on the street. We only have monthly street sweeping, and there is no residential permit program. So I thought it was brilliant. I left my spot empty for most of that first year. And used it for when friends came to visit, so they didn't have to hunt down parking in my busy neighborhood. For me, there was no "risk" in using the street space, even though I had a private spot. Well as you can imagine, if I needed to pay for that street spot, well I would have sucked it up and used my garage spot.

Now I am not saying we should make driving impossible, but we do need to make alternatives passable. I've mentioned this many times before. I rarely drive to my city's downtown. I used to more, when it was less popular, and parking was really easy. Now it is more popular and busier, so I just hop on my bike or take the bus. Because that saves me time vs driving and looking for parking. There is no reason it can't work that way for more of us, more often: the alternative to driving is efficient and easy. Just like all that free parking at the strip mall.

My neighborhood "main street" has limited street parking. Some stores have a handful of spots in a private lot, but parking for the neighborhood is provided by a central lot and on the street. As a result people park once and walk the rest. Additionally, the banks, post office, and the grocery store open up their lots after hours to handle the bar/restaurant/evening traffic. This works well because we don't lose valuable commercial space to parking that is only used half the time, and the density keeps the streets busy enough to walk around all day and late into the evening with plenty of foot traffic. The main street wouldn't work if it had more parking lots and less stores/shops/restaurants/services.

We can't expect to have safe/walkable neighborhoods when most of the streetspace is covered with a dead zone like parking, that isn't used very much. We need to be a lot smarter about land use and sharing spaces.
When I went looking for information about the costs of parking, it seems the book you referenced is "The Bible", both in the sense that urbanists seem to quote it a lot, and it's really the ONLY book out there about parking. I still think that residential buildings should have to provide off-street parking. I disagree that street parking isn't used very much. Go to any large city and you will see otherwise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Yeap, and they hate the minimums because it increases cost( and risk) to the developer. The developer only cares that he can sell it. He does not care how unfit or limited the building without the parking is. So long as it sells no problem. The community around said building without parking suffers the consequences of lack of off the street parking and increases in illegal parking. Now if you are an single office worker doing 9-5 when transit is most available then not an problem.

It is an problem when you truly need the car. Factory workers for instance often work unscheduled overtime and being dependent on transit is not viable esp. when you need to be at work at 6 a.m.. Parents and other care givers have time issues and so even if public transit is available it might not be attractive due to time constraints. Construction workers go from site to site and being dependent on transit is very limiting.
Exactly! And they try to convince people to buy/rent w/o the parking. A rental manager once told my daughter and her BF they should sell one of their cars to live in a particular building in downtown Denver. No matter that they both needed cars for work.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,063 posts, read 16,081,530 times
Reputation: 12641
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post

My issue isn't with developers choosing how to price their units and provide parking as they see fit, but the mandate via zoning rules on how much or how little parking should be provided for a building. The "market" should sort it out with actual evidence, it shouldn't be dictated by the arbitrary guesses and mandates in the zoning.
I completely agree in those areas where parking is in effective a commodity that can be bought on the open market. The market should determine those. Where minimum parking is necessary is in smaller "strip mall" type developments where parking is a shared neighborhood resource.

Say you want to built an apartment complex in Capitol Hill in Seattle, an area with little commodity parking outside the Pike/Pine strip and Broadway corridor where the neighborhood resource of parking price is set at free by the city and is constrained. The city has a responsibility there to manage the public resource by requiring off-street parking. The problem with Apodments is they fall into the SFH zoning, which does not require any off-street parking. Nonetheless, Calhoun does have some off-street parking in some of its developments although it is not required to do so like an apartment complex would.

Belltown is zoned inside the Downtown area. Seattle's downtown, with the exception of portions of the International District, does not have any parking minimums. At least not for cars. There is a bicycle parking minimum that does apply in some condition. What it does have, however, is parking maximums. This serves to keep the price of parking artificially high and discourage driving.
 
Old 07-22-2014, 04:07 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,005,048 times
Reputation: 1348
All this yelling back and forth (for the umpteenth thread) and all we seem to be able to say is that public transit and roads are efficient where they work within their economic limits, but are expensive and rightly contentious beyond those limits.

Roads create flexibility, but have huge socio-economic impacts above a certain population density. PT is great along corridors and in areas above a population density. When PT tries to play by private vehicle rules--dispersion of destinations, low density--it requires massive subsidy to stay afloat. But, when private transit reaches its limit, we get land used inefficiently and an outward extension of our cities, also with requisite subsidies.

And, frankly, one can't design for both simultaneously in the same place (though they can exist in proximity to one another). They require and result in different built forms.
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