Manage Parking to Promote Walking

A combined set of policies (often under the jurisdiction of multiple municipal agencies) to manage the supply of parking in order to reduce car use and encourage development where people can walk to their destinations. Land-use zoning, tax policies, curbside regulations, and subdivision ordinances are all means of regulating the provision and use of parking.

  • At every step, engage, educate, and learn from the public, especially businesses, at the city and local scale to gain support for policy implementation and maintenance
  • Reduce or remove minimum-parking requirements and set parking maximums in urban centers and urban villages
  • Provide incentives for parking-reduction programs such as parking cash out, shared parking, and park-and-ride
  • Restrict the location of parking to reduce its impact on street life
    • Prohibit front-surface parking lots between buildings and the street; require parking behind or underneath buildings
    • Restrict the number and size of driveways (create alleys to consolidate driveway access to the street or consolidate parking lot entrances to fewer, signalized intersections)
  • Require bicycle parking in new developments
  • Helps create more walkable development
  • Improves pedestrian safety
  • Encourages in-fill development
  • Eases redevelopment of older urban centers where buildings were often built without parking provisions
  • Reduces underused parking facilities, which reduces costs to taxpayers and developers and encourages additional development
  • Reduces traffic and congestion
  • Potentially increases retail sales with faster parking turnover
  • Overcomes an impediment for affordablehousing construction
  • Policies that change the supply, price, or management of parking should be implemented alongside improvements to transit, walking, and cycling infrastructure to most effectively reduce car use
  • Determining the appropriate amount of parking is challenging on many levels and often varies by a community’s specific context and goals
Where to Use It
  • Regional transportation plans
  • Municipal master plans
  • Transportation-demand-management studies
  • Zoning updates and rezonings
  • Community transportation plans
Professional Consensus
  • In the absence of official endorsements from national associations or governments, cities are turning to best practices employed by other municipalities
  • Endorsed within the guidebook Reforming Parking Policies to Support Smart Growth: Toolbox/Handbook of Parking Best Practices and Strategies for Supporting Transit Oriented Development in the San Francisco Bay Area 1

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.