Learning to Share Parking

Situation: The district I am studying is currently self-parked. Each parcel provides its own parking, which was required by a parking ratio and perhaps exceeded with perceived need. Businesses are struggling (due to many factors) and the ease of parking is critical in many business owners' eyes to future success. However, there is a land trade-off between parking and a higher density of development that would make the district feel more connected and walkable, and possibly more successful.

Problem: Parking is inefficiently provided throughout the project area. Surface parking lots are far more abundant than any other type of open space, and limit the amount of developable space in the neighborhood. With parking fields separating business entrances, most visitors park and visit a single establishment rather than visit the district as a whole.

Solution: Managed, shared parking districts. In these districts parking lots are shared, land is more efficiently used. Shared parking districts can decrease car trips, the number of parking spaces demanded, and promote walking. Sharing parking between business that have peak uses at different times more efficiently uses space throughout the day.

From a MultiModal Planning Workshop for the LaCrosse Region
Issues: Inserting "public parking" or shared parking on private land is complicated. How does a city write policies that encourage private land owners to share land for parking? The parcels of land owners are not easily consolidated, but the benefit of having a more efficient parking layout and adding potential developable land to the district as a whole sounds logical, doesn't it? We often wonder about issues of liability, and the possibility of land acquisition to meet the needs of the district as a whole. How can a city implement shared parking where private parking has dominated? Easy, get creative about how to share!

"It's always more fun to share with everyone." - Jack Johnson

J.L.