Tuesday, January 8, 2013

North Broadway Parking Study Final Recommendations Out

The final recommendations are out for the North Broadway Parking Study!  (It had seemed moribund, and I thought we might have to bury it, but it was just napping, it turns out.)

The parking management plan and proposed ordinances were published yesterday (NB - the plan is giant, 229pp, though most of it are appendices).

Not a great deal has changed since the August open house and draft was published.  So much that was true in August remains true today.

The plan looks evolutionary and incremental, and is not a game-changer.   It doesn't lead on making the district a walker's paradise.  Instead, it is a modest retreat on the norms of Salem's auto-dependent and auto-centric development styles.

The plan will be presented to Council in late January or early February.

In the plan are the same set of short term recommendations, and bike parking shows up in several:
  • Consider strategic placement of bicycle parking at key destinations
  • Continue to include bicycle parking (racks) with Broadway/High redevelopment
  • Provide incentives for business who supply bike parking
  • Revise SRC 133.150 (Satisfaction of Off-Street Parking Requirements through Alternate Modes of Transportation) to include objective standards for allowing a reduction in parking due to proximity to transit, pedestrian enhancements, availability of bicycle parking (including covered bicycle spaces or lockers) or other transportation demand management (TDM) measures. Eliminate the need for special review.
Other short-term recommendations include:
  • Continue the existing programs and practices Residential Parking Permit program
  • Formalize a standard for evaluating the parking supply, the 85% Rule
  • Continue Employer Education for reducing parking needs
  • Establish parking agreements between weekend businesses and those open during the week (only) to offset weekday residential parking
  • Create consistent on-street parking restrictions
  • Put metered parking in unrestricted parking areas in southern section of study area along Broadway/High Street
  • Improve bus stop locations (increase visibility, awareness and amenities)
  • Allow parking to be provided at a greater distance from the development site (e.g., 800 feet)
  • As an alternative to a variance, add a new code section that allows reductions of off-street parking requirements on a case-by-case basis subject to a professional study demonstrating that less parking is needed for a specific use than what is prescribed.
One that seems to have been revised out is the "on-street parking credit":
  • Add an “On-Street Parking Credit” so applicants can count on-street parking that is on the block face abutting the subject land use toward their parking requirement.
But it's hard to see this as crucial.
The medium and longer-term goals still contain language about more surface lots and parking garages, but since the current utilization of on-street parking is well under 50%, it seems likely these wouldn't be triggered any time soon.

And, indeed, by the time they might be triggered, it is at least possible that the cultural and political climate around private car storage will have changed to the extent that using land in this way for car storage is no longer perceived as a public good, and a much more robust set of non-auto choices for mobility will render car storage a less pressing need.

One positive development are some potential incentives in code for reducing the required car parking (the SRC 133.150 bit):
  • 5% for a bus stop
  • 5% for covered bike parking
  • and up to 10% for walking amenities
It will be exciting to see how this plays out, and whether it's structured adequately for developers to respond to it.

One limitation is that the study looked at trip-end facilities only, and did not undertake analysis of the roadway facilities that might affect mode choice. So, for example, even if there was plentiful and glorious bike parking, if people did not feel comfortable bicycling on Market and High/Broadway, they still might choose to drive a car, and need a car parking stall. Since the east-west cross streets are mostly residential and calm, comfortable bike facilities on Market and Hood might not be critical, but the lack of comfortable bike facilities on High/Broadway is probably a show-stopper for many. Hopefully that will be addressed soon.

1 comment:

Curt said...

Parking benefit districts could be a game changer. The consultants are at least reading Shoup. Not so sure about staff though.