Monday, April 29, 2013

Mapping Parking Demand

King County Metro has recently developed a tool called Right Size Parking. This tool provides maps of Seattle and its surrounding areas with the parking demand for each parcel. It was developed by extensively studying peak residential parking demand in areas around the region. This mapping service will be especially beneficial to planners and developers. Planners will able to use it as a guide for updating parking regulations in the zoning code. Developers will be able to better anticipate the parking needs of future developments. 

Allocating the wrong amount of parking brings a number of costs to society. The over-provision of parking leads to higher VMTs, more cars and congestion, and discourages other modes of transit. Under-providing parking can harm businesses, and disadvantage the elderly and disabled who need to park close to their residences. 

Hopefully other cities will follow suit and provide clear and easy to understand analysis of parking demand. The recent debate in Portland over developments without on-site parking illustrates just how contentious parking issues can be.  A Portland version of Right Size Parking would have made it easier for both city officials and the public to understand the implications of developments with little or no on-site parking.  

As the screen shot (below) from Right Size Parking shows, there are many areas in Seattle that demand less than half a stall per unit. At the same time, outside the central city, most areas still need at least one stall per unit. The main takeaway from this map is that parking requirements are very site specific, and blanket parking regulations are a detriment to an efficient parking market. 

Edited by Darwin Moosavi. 



  1. This is a very interesting post. I have recently read the article that was printed in the Oregonian written by two professors from PSU and the back lash from neighborhoods that are experiencing an influx of cars from new apartment development on their streets is incredibly strong. And to an extent, rightfully so, just recently a food service co-op just opened near my apartment building and even though I do not own a car, the reaction from my neighbors is pure frustration when "others" double park in their driveway, just so that they can get a pie, or meatballs. It's hard not to relate to both sides, I mean the I want these independent businesses to gain popularity but at the same time, I hate to see the majority of community up in arms because they cannot park their cars after a long day at work. I think ideas like this implemented in Seattle are a great way to ease the pain of looking for parking, especially in high demand locations. I would even take it another step further and hope that one day, if people are not going to give up their cars, then at that very least, start excepting that space is finite and at some point we either share or compete for space respectively and hopefully mapping where space is available can allow people to travel to their destination with stressing themselves or even others out with their cars. thanks for the post.

  2. I found this post very interesting. Parking seems to be one of the issues that never gets discussed in regards to Transportation, but makes a big impact in auto-centric societies. Honestly, some of the most stressful and annoying moments of my life have been spent in pursuit of parking. Thinking about how much gas and time are wasted driving around in circles is a little overwhelming. I’m glad to see more time and energy being invested in parking. Do you know of any other projects that are researching how to make parking more efficient?


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