Tool P-1: Tailored Parking RequirementsTool P-2: Demand Management MeasuresTool P-3: Shared ParkingTool P-4: In-Lieu Fees and AssessmentsTool P-5: Tandem Parking/Other Flexible SolutionsTool P-6: On-Street and Off-Site ParkingTool P-7: Landscape ReservesTool P-8: Waive Minimum Parking RequirementsTool P-9: Parking MaximumsTool P-10: Car-SharingTool P-11: On-Street Residential ParkingTool P-12: Integrating Transportation Demand Management
Parking is an essential part of new development in Marin. Most households have private vehicles, and most trips are made by private auto. Provision of effective improved pedestrian, bicycle, and transit infrastructure will, over time, reduce demand for parking, however, foreseeable demand requires that new development provide parking. Particularly for commercial uses, availability of parking is a critical factor for economic success. At the same time, however, parking has a range of impacts on the community and environment:
For these reasons, it is important that parking be provided in appropriate quantities, and closely matched to actual demand and the level of parking and traffic a jurisdiction can accommodate. The following tools can help ensure that motorists can find a space, while avoiding exacerbating the negative impacts.
By allowing development to succeed with less parking, these innovative parking policies can support many of the principles for TOD/PeD in Marin County (see Section B-3 Marin TPLUS Vision Statement and Principles), such as creating compact places and providing residents of all incomes with quality housing choices. It is important to stress that, with the exception of maximum parking requirements, none of these strategies would force developers to provide less parking. They would still be free to respond to market demands.
It should also be noted that these tools are focused on changes that can be made to the zoning codes of local jurisdictions. Additional strategies cover management of public parking, such as on-street meters and residential permit parking. A technical memorandum has been prepared for TAM and the TPLUS Advisory Committee that provides a detailed overview of existing parking standards in Marin County.
Many recent planning efforts have already addressed the issue of parking standards. For example, the revised Draft Marin Countywide Plan, released in August 2005, and Draft San Rafael General Plan, published in January 2004, present a range of parking-related policies, including the adoption of more flexible standards. Some older plans, such as the 1995 Sausalito General Plan, also include policies for more flexible requirements.
In addition, many of the strategies represent “tried and tested” practice in Marin and have already been implemented in at least one town or city.
Where Are They Appropriate?
Parking strategies to promote TOD and PeD have often been seen as only applicable in large urban centers with intensive transit service. The potential policies discussed here, however, apply to a wide range of contexts. Some, such as credits for on-street parking or the greater use of tandem parking, have applicability across the County – even without minimum levels of associated density or transit service. Even where a community does not anticipate a significant level of new development, revised parking policies can be important in ensuring that changes of use or minor infill projects contribute to local goals such as traffic reduction, or the enhancement of the pedestrian environment.
Other policies are best suited to specific areas, such as downtowns or transit corridors with higher-frequency service, and will not be appropriate in all towns and cities, particularly in more rural areas. Where this is the case, it is noted in the text for each tool.
It should be stressed that many of these policies have been introduced in comparable contexts, even where transit service is limited or non-existent. For example, Petaluma, in Sonoma County, recently adopted major revisions to its parking standards as part of a wider shift to a new form-based code. These include eventual abolition of minimum parking requirements altogether and adoption of extensive design standards to ensure that parking does not impact the pedestrian environment.
The section is organized in response to stated issues and concerns, as follows: