Parking Study

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TO: Planning Committee                                                          DATE: June 9, 2006

FR: Executive Director                                                            W.I.: 1611

RE: Parking Policies to Support Smart Growth: Study Update

Parking is consistently ranked as one of the top challenges for infill and transit oriented
development by Bay Area jurisdictions. The right mix of parking management strategies, along
with support for other transportation modes, can result in significantly reduced need for parking,
more use of transit, and a more vibrant town center area with more pedestrians. However,
defining an effective set of parking strategies that will work in a particular environment takes
detailed analysis of local land use and development characteristics, parking conditions, economic
and market issues. A number of jurisdictions have turned to MTC for assistance in defining
locally appropriate parking policies to support community visions for transit station areas and
town centers.

In January of this year, MTC embarked on a planning effort, supported by a grant from Caltrans,
to help define local parking policies for smart growth. This planning effort will include:

      An assessment of current parking policies in the Bay Area, and whether parking policies
       support smart growth around transit stations and in downtowns
      Innovations in parking policies, within the Bay Area and beyond
      Local, customized case studies of parking policies in eight Bay Area communities.
       The case studies are the largest component of this effort, have been selected based on
       applications from interested Bay Area cities, and will involve detailed work with our
       consultants, including discussion with local jurisdictions regarding specific issues and
       opportunities, data collection and analysis, and development of effective parking strategies.
      A handbook and training to assist interested local jurisdictions in developing effective
       parking policies for various smart growth settings
      Recommendations for regional and state policies to support parking policies for transit
       oriented development and downtowns.

We received a great deal of interest in this effort, with initial inquiries from 30 interested
jurisdictions and 18 completed applications. Working with the Technical Advisory Committee,
we have selected case studies in the following cities that reflect a diverse distribution of land use
and transit types, parking issues, and geographical distribution:
       1. Berkeley
       2. Hercules
       3. Menlo Park
       4. Morgan Hill
       5. San Francisco
       6. San Rafael
       7. Union City
       8. Vallejo

Attachment A presents brief summaries of the selected case studies – additional information is
available on our web site at

MTC staff and the consultants have held kick off meetings with staff in each of the cities to tour
the focus areas, discuss parking and development issues and opportunities, review land use and
parking data, define a data collection plan, and identify key stakeholders.

Next Steps
We are in the process of refining the specific issues and goals, data collection plans, strategies of
potential interest, and processes for involving key stakeholders for the case studies. The
consultants will be collecting data, including parking occupancy and turnover, during May and
June, and will be analyzing this data in July and August. We will be working with the local
jurisdictions to draft potential parking strategies for staff discussions, to be followed by
discussions with the stakeholders, scheduled for the Fall 2006.

At the same time, we are summarizing parking policies of various local jurisdictions in the Bay
Area, with an eye to whether they are refined in areas around transit to support walkable centers
and transit oriented activities, and looking for innovations from around the region and the rest of
the country to inform the development of effective strategies.

The consultants will be presenting more detailed information about the overall effort, the case
studies, parking issues and potential parking strategies at your meeting.

                                                      Steve Heminger
                  Attachment A: Bay Area Case Studies – brief summaries

1. City of Berkeley
County – Alameda County Citywide Area Type – Urban
Population – Large City Transit Providers – BART, AC Transit and two shuttle systems
Goals – “The City would like to continue to develop the parking policies and programs called for
in the General Plan. The ideal outcome would be recommendations for concrete, locally
appropriate policies and programs to meet our General Plan parking goals. Our General Plan
Transportation Policy T-32 states that the City should encourage Berkeley businesses and
institutions to establish shared parking agreements, which would make the most efficient use of
existing and new parking areas. In addition Policy T-34 calls for the City to manage the supply
of Downtown public parking to discourage long-term all-day parking and increase the
availability and visibility of short-term parking for local businesses, and provides 12 Actions for
meeting this policy goal. Finally, Policy T-35 call for the City to prioritize implementation of
improved parking conditions in the Downtown through better utilization of existing parking and
through implementation of policies to reduce demand for parking.”
What makes this a good case study? – In recent years, the City of Berkeley has demonstrated a
high level of commitment by their local stakeholders to alleviate congestion and promote
alternative means of reaching the downtown. The City of Berkeley’s reputation for implementing
innovative policies may provide an example of successful policy.

2. City of Hercules
County – Contra Costa Citywide Area Type – Low-Suburban
Population – Small City Transit Provider – WestCAT
Goals: “Present policy decisions to City Council, including financial consequences of
investment decisions with respect to municipal / redevelopment provision of parking structures
through developer subsidies and with respect to direct public, local investment in parking related
to two major transit facilities soon to be delivered.”
What makes this a good case study?– The City of Hercules has one of the largest undeveloped
parcels of land in the Bay Area and presents opportunity to set the tone of development for
similar cities to follow. It has already begun to experiment with a new type of development as a
result of a new zoning ordinance that promotes “New Urbanism” principles. The City’s
Waterfront District may be a good example of this, incorporating a mix of housing types
including single-family, less-expensive dwellings, and high-density apartments, all within
walking distance of the new Historic Town Center that provides an equally rich mix of services
including retail and restaurants. Additionally, the City’s location within Contra Costa County
also makes it a desirable site to study in regards to non-work trip activity and ways to manage
those trips. As such, it may add to the overall comprehensive nature of the study and capture the
variation that exists throughout the Bay Area cities/jurisdictions.

3. City of Menlo Park
County – San Mateo County Citywide Area Type – Low-Suburban
Population – Small City Transit Provider – Caltrain, SamTrans, VTA, City Shuttle
Goals: “The ideal study outcome for downtown would be to have an inventory of the existing
supply of parking spaces, an understanding of parking demand, a critical review of the City's
parking regulations and enforcement practices, a appreciation of the available parking
alternatives suitable for downtown (shared, mixed use TOD, etc.), an understanding of the role of
parking structures and the implications for parking if the City adopted "parking in lieu fees" for
new development in excess of 100% FAR, thereby enhancing opportunities for new
development. Staff believes that having this information will enable the city to establish
appropriate land use policies and strategies relative to parking and transit reflecting the unique
challenges and opportunities offered in the city's downtown.”
What makes this a good case study?– The City of Menlo Park has a thriving historic main
street that extends from the Caltrain Station. There are a number of free, publicly owned parking
lots in the downtown. There are recently proposed TOD mixed use projects that could support
the local downtown businesses, but current parking policies require more parking in this area
than the rest of the city. The city is interested in developing policies to support higher density
development with new land use and parking policies.

4. City of Morgan Hill
County – Santa Clara County Citywide Area Type – Low-Suburban
Population – Small City Transit Providers – Caltrain and VTA
Goals - “To increase density around the Caltrain commuter station and modify parking
requirements to achieve desired densities.”
What makes this a good case study?– The City of Morgan Hill has begun to implement
policies related to increase densities adjacent to TOD site which are included in their General
Plan. The City’s residential development control system provides a method for evaluating
proposed residential developments and issues a limited number of development allotments each
year. In addition, the City has begun to modify their parking ordinances to achieve the desired

5. San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) – Mission Bay
County – San Francisco Citywide Area Type – Urban
Population – Large City Transit Providers – BART, Muni
Goals – “To identify the existing conditions and needs of the defined redevelopment area to
ensure that the neighborhood develops in a transit and pedestrian oriented manner, in accordance
with the City’s Transit First Policy.”
What makes this a good case study?– The City of San Francisco has a record of implementing
innovative parking policies within a strong stakeholder interest environment. In particular, the
Mission Bay study site offers a good example of a new maximum parking policy

6. City of San Rafael
County – Marin Citywide Area Type – Low-Suburban
Population – Small-Medium City Transit Providers – Golden Gate Transit, MCTD, Airport
Service, potential commuter transit rail service
Goals - “To achieve appropriate parking standards in the vicinity of the future transit rail stops in
San Rafael.”
What makes this a good case study?– The City of San Rafael presents opportunity for
redevelopment areas to have higher mixed-use housing and commercial densities. Specifically,
downtown San Rafael is a community of high density housing, retail, and office development
and the City has begun conceptual design for a transit village near its civic center. As a case
study, it may be beneficial to compare of the successful features of the existing transit village to
those elements proposed for the new project.

7. City of Union City
County – Alameda Citywide Area Type – Low-Suburban
Population – Small-Medium City Transit Providers – BART, AC Transit, Dumbarton, Union
City Transit, potential regional rail connections
Goals – “We hope that we will be able to develop a parking plan/approach that will help the City
adjust to the increasing urbanization of the area. Currently, as a City we have very few parking
expenses, but as parking becomes scarce in the Station Area, it is reasonable to expect there will
be a demand for parking management. Cost and enforcement are critical considerations for the
City. Also, financing parking garages is also a consideration. The area immediately around the
BART station is slated for TOD development. The redevelopment of this area will begin soon
with 438 apartments slated to begin construction in 2007. The BART station redesign is also
under way.”
What makes this a good case study?– Union City expects over 1,000 new residential units to
be constructed within one half mile of BART in the near term. The City has reserved land for
mixed-use development and has reduced parking standards within its defined station district. As
a case study, it may be useful to study an area which has new projects coming online in the next
couple of years.

8. City of Vallejo
County – Solano Citywide Area Type – Low-Suburban
Population – Large City Transit Providers – Bay Link Ferry, Vallejo Transit, Benicia Transit,
Vine Transit
Goals: “To develop a parking management plan that will meet the current and future parking
needs of the anticipated and existing downtown and waterfront development.”
What makes this a good case study?– The City of Vallejo includes multi-modal transit centers
including a bus center and ferry terminal, as well as a historical downtown close by with capacity
for more business. The possibility of directed growth around the City’s waterfront has learning
opportunities to be gained from its study.

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