What are the financial and environmental benefits of implementing shared parking in a development, downtown, or campus?

4 years ago by in Parking Studies

The variety of land uses typical in a development, downtown, or campus provide meaningful opportunities for shared parking. Shared parking is defined as “the use of a parking space to serve multiple land uses without conflict.” The utilization of the same parking space by multiple user groups (i.e., parking for commuters during the day, and residents or retail patrons in the evening and weekends) maximizes the use of the parking structure, reduces the amount of parking to be built, and if parking fees are charged, financially supports the facilities’ capital and operating expenses.

There are three main reasons why shared parking is important:

  1. Parking is very expensive to build if the parking spaces are not needed.
  2. Land and opportunity cost is typically not best utilized with vacant parking.
  3. Overbuilding the parking areas is inefficient and may create a negative image to an area.

Often in large scale mixed-use developments planners include individual parking structures for each building or land use component, and wrap the structure with that component to hide the parking structure.  While these plans and designs are aesthetically pleasing, the development of multiple structures is often economically infeasible.

To reduce structured parking costs, the facilities should be consolidated and shared to the greatest extent possible.  For sale condominiums often require “dedicated parking” adjacent to their building. However, other uses such as residential rentals, office and retail uses do not require parking immediately adjacent to their buildings. The short walk from the parking structure will also enliven the streetscape and support area retailers.  Parking for commuters also does not need to be sited immediately adjacent to the transit station, but located so that commuters will have a short and convenient walk past retail, dining, and public amenities.