Well-managed parking means higher customer turnover and more revenue for retail businesses. Decreased parking requirements can reduce the cost of new development and building renovation, making housing and commercial rents more affordable. Right-sized and priced parking can mean people drive less, freeing up money spent on transportation for other uses. Finally, revenue from priced parking can be used for local area improvements like street trees, signage, improved sidewalks, or other priorities. Bend, Eugene, Hood River, McMinnville, Portland, and Salem all have parking benefit districts. Read more.
Improved Quality of Life and Healthier People
Areas less dominated by huge parking lots are more walkable, attractive, and healthful. Better designed communities can mean shorter, walkable distances between destinations, and less need to drive and sit in traffic. Less parking means fewer heat islands caused by acres of heat-absorbing asphalt. And less public space for parking can mean more trees, which beautify communities, provide shade, and make sidewalks more comfortable. Well-designed parking programs decrease time wasted searching for parking.
Preserved Historic Buildings, Cleaner Air and Water
Historic building owners often have a hard time meeting minimum parking requirements, and may have to raze adjacent structures to meet arbitrary parking standards. Well-designed parking rules can mean less damage to historic buildings and districts, increased investment in historic properties, and preservation of cohesive main streets.
Managing parking well can mean less land paved over with impermeable asphalt, less toxic runoff in rivers and streams where it can pollute the drinking water, less air pollution, and more trees.
Household Savings and Improved Consumer Choice
Like the price of gas, the price and availability of parking can greatly influence our travel decisions. But unlike gas prices or bus fares, parking costs are usually hidden and not paid by the user. Instead, they are embedded into housing costs and merchandise prices. That means people consume more parking than they would if asked to cover its costs, and people can’t pay less for parking by using less of it.
Bundling the cost of parking into other items skews travel choices toward solo driving and away from transit, walking, and bicycling. Unbundled parking, where the consumer pays for the parking he or she uses, makes the cost of parking – and the savings achieved by using non-auto modes – more transparent and fair. Read more.