2.5.1 Parking Management Strategies
A range of parking strategies should be implemented in and around station areas to encourage a shift away from higher levels of automobile use and minimize the impacts of parking on the public realm.
The transition from an automobile-dependent environment to one that is transit-supportive can be a slow process occurring over many years. Strategies to accommodate parking will be required to support that transitional period and assist in shifting modal split and enabling the emergence of a more pedestrian-friendly transit-supportive environment.
While parking may be required in stop and station areas, the over provision of free or low cost parking and creation of areas that are dominated by parking infrastructure can have a negative impact on ridership and the pedestrian environment as well as providing an incentive for single-occupant vehicle use. An effective parking management strategy should be multi-faceted, providing a range of parking options suited to different users while acknowledging that the end goal is a reduction in overall auto use and an increase in more active, shared forms of transportation. To be effective, parking strategies must be tied to the availability of good transit service. In the absence of good service, businesses that will remain largely dependant on vehicular traffic can suffer and adjacent areas without management strategies in place can experience increased levels of traffic and parking demand as drivers seek to avoid paying higher costs.
Markham’s shared parking policy identifies a series of occupancy rates for different uses at three time periods throughout the day. When there is an opportunity for two adjacent uses to share parking, the total parking required in the zoning for each use is first multiplied by the applicable occupancy rates (above). This determines the parking requirements for each use during each of the three time periods. The sum of the parking requirements for the two adjacent uses at each time period are then added to give combined parking requirements for each time period. The largest of these three sums becomes the minimum shared parking requirement.
Applicable Community Scale
- Require large developments, institutions and employers to submit transportation demand management (TDM) strategies as a component of the site plan approval process. These could include a range of features such as car share spaces, cycling facilities or programs such as a carpool strategy, emergency ride home program, private shuttle services and transit fare incentives. Also see Guideline 3.5.5.
- Encourage existing uses to implement TDM strategies by showcasing examples of local developments, institutions or businesses that have incorporated similar measures. Local business improvement associations could be approached to assist in implementing TDM strategies.
- Permit reductions in maximum and minimum parking requirements once TDM measures are adopted. Reduce or eliminate maximum and minimum parking standards for small scale retail uses and ground floor commercial uses near transit routes and designed to cater to pedestrian traffic.
Shared parking and access between uses can help to balance parking fluctuations and reduce the overall need for parking spaces within a development or neighbourhood context.
The use of real-time parking displays, such as this one in Germany, can help to maximise existing shared parking resources by informing drivers of the location of available spaces within a structure or district.
Regional Transit-Oriented Development Guidelines (York Region)
Mobility Hub Guidelines (Metrolinx)
Parking and Loading Zoning Standards Review Phase One (City of Toronto)
Parking Pricing Implementation Guidelines (Victoria Transport Policy Institute)
Parking Best Practices & Strategies For Supporting Transit Oriented Development In the San Francisco Bay Area (Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission)
- Encourage shared parking arrangements between uses to reduce the need for parking spaces within a development.
- Maximize the use of street parking to reduce the need for stand alone surface or structured parking. Use daily rates rather than monthly rates in structured parking to reduce parking demand. Street parking can be maximized through flexible stall spacing that will enable smaller cars to occupy less space, meters that encourage vehicle turnover, and the use of time restrictions.
- The use of off-peak street parking on arterials and collectors can enable parking in places that may be congested during peak periods. When locating on-street parking, consider the width available for cyclists to pass parked cars safely as drivers open their car doors.
- Explore the potential for more compact parking standards that can enhance the efficiency of existing lots.
- Evaluate and consider reductions in minimum and maximum parking supply requirements near transit routes. Establish parking supply standards appropriate to existing and planned densities, mix of uses, existing and planned levels of transit service and modal split. Review standards on a regular basis and change as appropriate.
- Permit off-site, shared and existing on-street parking to count toward parking requirements.
- The establishment of parking improvement districts can be used to direct net or surplus revenues from paid parking lots back into the district. These revenues can contribute to the development of more shared parking facilities, snow removal, or other parking related infrastructure. Additional funding for these could be partially achieved through a cash in lieu policy on area developments.
2.5.2 Priority Parking Users
Encourage priority parking programs that promote a shift to higher vehicle occupancy and greater use of more efficient and sustainable modes of transportation.
Large cars and single-occupant vehicles use more resources than smaller and more efficient alternatives, both in terms of space for parking and their impact upon the environment. In areas where parking spaces are limited, such as station areas and around major stops, giving priority to preferred users such as carpool users and vehicles that occupy less space can be a strong incentive, promoting more space efficient modes of transportation. If four users occupy a single parking space, they are in essence freeing up three additional spaces for other users, maximizing the efficiency of existing parking and minimizing the need for additional spaces. The effectiveness of priority measures will be dependent on proper enforcement to ensure that priority spaces are not being occupied by unauthorized vehicles. Priority measures should be assessed on a regular basis for effectiveness and enforcement strategies planned accordingly.
Providing incentives for more space efficient modes of transportation is inherently sustainable. In addition, it can be beneficial to provide priority for more environmentally friendly forms of private transportation, such as bicycles, hybrid vehicles or electric cars in order to promote more sustainable transportation solutions.
Parking spaces also need to be designed for universal access. Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) will require municipalities and transit agencies to meet standards for accessible parking spaces under the Built Environment Standard. Guideline 3.4.1 provides resources and links to Ontario’s accessibility policies and legislation as they develop and are implemented.
The Dow Jones Princeton campus has 60 preferred parking spaces for cars with high miles per gallon (36 mpg or higher) and carpoolers.
- Locational priority should be given to accessible parking spaces as well as carpool and alternative energy vehicles such as hybrid or electric cars at stations and within municipally-owned parking lots in and around station areas.
- The provision of charging stations at priority locations within station areas can help support electric vehicle use. This enables users to charge their vehicles while travelling via transit.
- Where parking spaces are limited, consider the provision of priority parking for cyclists, scooters, motorcycles and small cars, which occupy less space, as an incentive to encourage the most efficient use of parking areas.
- Prioritizing cyclists and integrating cycling facilities in parking lots at major stops and station areas can help promote higher levels of cycling access. Strategies to promote and enhance access for cyclists can be found in Guideline 2.2.4.
The prioritization of scooters and motorcycles at this GO Transit Station in Ajax helps to encourage the use of vehicles that require less space to accommodate.
Parking Management – Strategies, Evaluation and Planning (Victoria Transport Policy Institute)
Park and Ride Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (King County Department of Transportation, WA)
Station Access Strategy (GO Transit)
LRT Carpool Parking Program (City of Edmonton)
- Charging for parking in and around all major stops and station areas can help promote a shift toward alternative forms of transportation.
- Transit agencies and transportation demand management associations should consider the creation of carpooling programs that can help riders find carpool partners and promote incentives such as priority parking to members who carpool to station areas.
- Enable the provision of car share services, which provide paid access to a vehicle shared between multiple users, to count toward parking requirements.
- The first priority for parking should be given to accessible parking spaces. Locate accessible spaces, as well as accessible taxi services, close to the shortest accessible route leading to the main accessible pedestrian entrance of a building. Accessible parking areas should be:
- connected to destinations by routes that avoid curbs, streets and access drives;
- designed of firm, stable and slip resistant surfaces with no slopes;
- maintained year round;
- well marked and identified by the International Symbol of Accessibility;
- designed to include spaces of an appropriate width as per Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act standards; and
- provided with wayfinding signage directing users to the nearest accessible entrance if the location of the space is distant or out of view from accessible entrances to the building.