How can we increase access and manage parking?
Ward 3 residents often cite parking availability as a top concern regarding redevelopment. Working together, we can do a better job of managing parking in our urban neighborhood. We already have a decent supply of parking, so the key is better managment of the availability of that supply.
There are many innovative solutions and strategies we can use to address parking problems and increase convenient access and transportation choices. Learn how other places have addressed similar concerns:
- Flyer on parking solutions (PDF)
- Powerpoint presentation by Jeff Tumlin
- Parking Management by Todd Litman (PDF)
- Places where parking management has worked: Parking Paradigm Shift
- The High Cost of Free Parking
- Op-ed by Donald Shoup, New York Times
A few things to keep in mind when thinking about parking:
- Parking is not free! There are always hidden costs — for example, one space in an underground garage costs $30,000-50,000 to build. Parking is generally 20% of the total housing cost.
- If you build it, they will drive: The more parking supply provided, the more car trips are generated, causing more traffic! (Vehicle miles traveled is the total number of miles traveled by cars for a specified area)
- We need to maximize our public investment in Metro, buses, and biking/pedestrian facilities. Building too much parking undermines our investment.
- Parking is a scarce public resource that should be equitably allocated.
- Poorly-managed parking comes with a high price tag for our environment, traffic, and time. A planning professor found that cruising for underpriced curb parking generates 30 minutes of cruising time per day, amounting to 1,825 vehicle miles traveled a year per space. Because this cruising adds to traffic that is already congested, it makes a bad situation even worse.
- Parking (and the amount, cost, and location of it) can make or break an urban environment and its economy. Planners and parking experts have found time and again that simply building giant parking garages isn’t the best way nor the most cost effective way to address parking demands and access needs.
- Ward 3 neighborhoods have an advantage in managing parking demand due to our proximity to bus stops and Metro stations. According to the 2000 census, 12% of households in the Tenleytown and Friendship Heights area (east of Wisconsin, west of Connecticut) don’t own a car. Another 50% only own one car.
- Support car sharing. Car sharing offers people in the city the occasional use of a car without having to own one – an option that is particularly attractive for those who don’t depend on their car for getting to work every day. (more on car sharing)
- It’s been shown that every car sharing vehicle, replaces an average of 14 privately-owned vehicles (either by drivers who sell their cars or choose not to buy one).
Who manages parking in DC?
Ideally, parking and transportation/traffic should be managed together, but in DC they are dealt with by separate agencies. This prevents holistic, effective management strategies from being implemented.
The DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) manages parking in public spaces including on-street parking.
The DC Office of Planning and Zoning Commission regulate parking in private spaces (i.e. underground garages in apartment buildings or office buildings).
While parking demand from residents, shoppers and other visitors are treated separately, they are actually closely linked. Think about our neighborhoods: people who come to shop at stores on Wisconsin Avenue often park on residential side streets (“spillover” parking).