Parking: It’s Not Just About Where to Store Cars

Source: CIty of Sacramento

Source: CIty of Sacramento

Parking reform topic of ULI Rose Center discussion with Green Parking Council and Sacramento


Starting with the provocative claim that parking is “the difference between smart growth and sprawl,” Mark Gander, director, Mobility and Development, AECOM, and board member, Green Parking Council, joined Tom Pace, principal planner with the city of Sacramento, for a recent ULI Rose Center for Public Leadership webinar on parking reform.

Gander shared the work of the Green Parking Council, which provides a green garage certification program. He discussed how parking is integral to transit-oriented development, and how two transformations—one in how people get around and the other in the auto industry itself—are changing common thinking about parking. The new model makes parking less about car storage and more about creating mobility hubs.

The city of Sacramento adopted a new, citywide parking ordinance in October 2012. Pace explained what happened to the city’s parking ordinance and zoning code when they took the conclusion that “urban form dictates parking needs” to heart. Sacramento’s new parking ordinance divides the city into four parking-needs areas and eliminates minimum parking requirements in the most urban, walkable district—the CBD. He shared other discoveries such as that building off-street parking does not relieve on-street parking congestion and that parking requirements can be a barrier to filling vacant storefronts. Parking and zoning policies need to cast a broader net and encompass shared parking as well as car-sharing. Sacramento also learned to treat bicycles as their own transportation mode with distinct parking needs.

For the complete webinar audio file, presentation slides, and links to additional resources, check out this Rose Center post.

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