Best Practice Category:
Parking management districts are typically designated by local jurisdictions to regulate parking supply and rates in a way that meets the specific needs of the area. It provides a flexible method for cities to refine their off-street parking requirements by incorporating specific regulations that govern parking requirements for a defined area or district.
Local jurisdictions can utilize parking management districts to regulate parking supply, parking pricing, and promote more parking turnover and transit use within a transit supportive district or in other areas of a community with a diverse mix of uses. Further, parking management districts can be utilized to more efficiently manage both private and public parking supplies, thus reducing the need to construct additional parking supply.
Two key components of successful parking management districts include supply management strategies, such as offering shared parking, establishing maximum parking ratios, allowing off-site parking, or modifications to parking minimums, and dynamic pricing policies, which allow for changes to parking fees based on demand levels for parking supply. Together these components can encourage a balanced transportation system and enhance economic development. The parking supply in a parking management district can be managed on a project-by-project basis or through the development of centralized or shared parking facilities.
- More flexible parking requirements
- More effective use of existing off-street parking spaces
- Revenue generating strategies
- Strategies to facilitate parking turnover
The City of Los Angeles implemented its Modified Parking Requirements ordinance, which allows for the creation of Modified Parking Requirement Districts. These districts serve as a solution to the City’s previous one-size-fits all approach to parking requirements. Due to the diversity of neighborhoods with widely-varying levels of population, employment density, transit service, and automobile dependence, flexibility in the City’s parking requirements is needed to meet the parking needs of the various neighborhood communities.
The Modified Parking Requirement Districts allow the use of one or more of seven parking requirement modification tools for managing parking-specific concerns in designated areas throughout the city. Application of the tools are determined based on the parking needs of the district. The seven parking requirement modification tools include:
- Change of use parking standards : allows changes to more parking-intensive uses, such as converting a retail use to a restaurant, without requiring additional off-street parking. This would be appropriate in areas with ample supplies of public parking or where spillover parking is not a significant concern.
- Off-site parking for all uses within 1,500 feet : allows off-site parking within 1,500 feet of a use in an MPR District instead of the 750 feet allowed for non-residential uses under the existing code. This would expand site design options in the denser areas of the City.
- Parking reduction permit: allows project applicants to request reduced parking via discretionary review. Applicants can reduce parking by an amount specified by the city (typically in the range of 10-25% below established minimums), as long as they demonstrate that the reduction is warranted due to feasible access of alternative transportation, shared parking, or other measures that reduce typical parking demand.
- Decreased parking standards: applicable where less parking is needed, such as areas where public transit is encouraged.
- Increased parking standards: applicable in areas where parking is insufficient to meet demand and/or public transit access is limited.
- Commercial parking credits: allows businesses to meet minimum parking requirements by purchasing parking credits, which secures underutilized public/private parking spaces located within in a defined area (usually within ¼ mile) of the project location. Each parking credit typically satisfies one code required parking space.
- Maximum parking requirements: applicable in TOD areas where transit would be encouraged.
Increasing development in downtown Redwood City has resulted in the increase in demand for on-street and off-street public parking. The Redwood City Downtown Meter Zone was developed in order to manage the increasing demand for parking within the area. In an effort to optimize parking turn over at storefronts and busy streets, as well as to generate more revenue, the City passed an ordinance in 2006 to allow downtown parking meter rates to be adjusted up or down in response to demand. Parking meter rates would go up in areas where demand was high and would conversely go down in areas where demand was low.
Implementing parking pricing strategies in TOD districts can help facilitate more parking turnover and allow for more visitors to visit the area. Local jurisdictions can use the ordinance adopted by Redwood City as a guide in developing its own meter pricing strategies. Key provisions of the ordinance include the following:
- Target parking occupancy rate for all streets set at 85%, with 15% of parking spaces available at any given time.
- Parking surveys are to be conducted at least once a year and no more than once quarterly to determine actual parking occupancy rates. If results of the surveys show parking occupancy at approximately 85%, then no price change is required. If, however, occupancy is higher than 85%, then meter pricing should be increased to mitigate the demand.
- Meter rates may be adjusted in $0.25 increments based on occupancy patterns observed in parking surveys. Any increases that result in a meter rate above $1.50 per hour requires City Council approval.
- Meter time limits are eliminated as pricing strategy should facilitate more parking turnover.
- Revenue collected from the parking meters are to be used to implement and improve downtown parking and traffic.