There are better ways to determine how much parking to supply at a particular location. Parking regulations can be more accurate (reflecting geographic and demographic factors – such as land use mix and residents’ income levels – that affect parking demand) and flexible (allowing requirements to be reduced in exchange for implementation of various management strategies, such as those described below, that encourage more efficient use of supply). This can significantly reduce the number of parking spaces needed to satisfy demand, improve user convenience and reward consumers and businesses that reduce their parking demand.
Parking management is neither mysterious nor particularly difficult. There are more than two dozen strategies to choose from, including those that:
Increase parking facility efficiency by sharing, regulating and pricing; use off-site parking facilities; implement overflow parking plans; improve user information; and improve walking and cycling conditions.
Reduce parking demand by encouraging use of alternative modes of transportation and more accessible land use development.
Improve enforcement and control of parking regulations, and address any spillover problems that occur.
Improve parking facility design and operation, to improve user convenience and safety, and reduce negative impacts.
Many of these strategies are well known, and all have been successfully implemented. However, they are not being implemented to the degree justified by their significant benefits because current planning practices emphasize supply solutions and treat management solutions as a last resort, to be implemented only when it is particularly difficult to expand parking facilities. For example, when evaluating potential solutions to parking problems planners often overlook indirect costs that result from parking facility expansion, such as increased stormwater management costs, increased sprawl, and reduced pedestrian accessibility, and thus underestimate the full benefits of management solutions.