Conducting a Parking Study


Conducting a Parking Study

 When to do it, and why!  Parking studies can be expensive.  This year at PIE, a panel of parking consultants will discuss when you should consider a parking study.  Learn how to engage your stakeholders.  Learn what you should do before soliciting a parking study and what to do once you have the results. 
Is your agency considering a parking study? A number of important items must be considered before issuing a bid for one. Has your current parking supply and utilization been analyzed? If not, then analyzing the current resources available will help outline the crucial issues/challenges your agency experiences. 
Any discussion of parking should start with a survey of the existing parking use. 
Community and stakeholder input is a crucial part of any municipal program. Due to the often contentious nature of parking programs, a study that is able to identify the correct stakeholders and outline a plan to keep them engaged throughout the process is extremely important and will significantly improve the success of the program. 
What is the perception of parking within your community? This PIE 2016 panel will answer questions regarding stakeholder engagement and parking perception, as well as who the correct stakeholders should be. 
Is data collection a key component of your study? What should be your agency’s defined study area? In this day and age, data drive decisions. Therefore, outlining a well-planned data collection effort can be fundamental in providing recommendations to your agency’s decision-makers. Furthermore, what tools are being utilized during the collection of data? Is it a manual or automated process? Outlining how and when to collect data are key. 
When conducting a parking study, analyzing the nuances of other comparable programs can provide your agency with information that has or has not succeeded for similar programs. Outlining which cities to analyze can be a tough decision. Panelists will discuss case studies of comparable analysis and what information should be extracted from the various cities. 
Does your agency have business improvement districts? How will these districts be addressed during the study? Are there in-lieu fees designated for parking? Allowing developers to pay fees into a municipal parking or traffic mitigation fund in lieu of providing the required parking on-site can be a solution to generate revenue for your agency. 
What technology solutions are leading the industry? Establishing an efficient program can start with the implementation of technological improvements. How are citations being managed? Does your agency have an established parking permit program? Does it need one? 
Each of these questions is a key component to ask before conducting a parking study, and will be discussed by our panel of experts. 
How can you plan for future parking conditions? Identifying the key challenges today is necessary, but these challenges may not be the same ones that will exist two, five, ten years from now. Outlining areas for cross-utilization of parking lots, potential sites for new structures will allow your agency to have a truly adaptable parking plan. Changes to the “streetscape,” future developments, expanding utilization, etc., can all affect your parking roadmap and be essential to the growth of any program. 
Outlining a distinct timeline of when to implement the recommendations provided is central to any successful study. A clear outline of immediate, short-term and long-term needs should be the cornerstone of every study. 
Hear from the panelists about their greatest achievements and some key challenges that hindered their ability to effect change. Hear case studies from the experts on what has worked and what hasn’t throughout their experiences. 
The panelists will walk through the steps your agency needs to take to help ensure that a successful and useful parking study is conducted. After all, no agency wants a study that ends up just sitting on a shelf until another study is needed.
David Cooker is senior associate at Dixon Resources Unlimited. He can be reached at david@dixonresourcesunlimited.
Topics to be discussed:
• Identifying the current parking supply and utilization
• How to engage and define your stakeholders
• Data collection and analysis
• Comparable cities
• Case studies of parking roadmaps
• Business Improvement Districts 
• In-lieu fees
• How to plan for future parking conditions
Article contributed by:
David Cooker
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