Focus Area: Downtown

Downtown Vision

The vision for downtown, as described in the Land Use Element, is a pedestrian-friendly environment. The provision of adequate parking is a critical component for making the vision a reality.

Prior Downtown parking surveys have identified a parking space surplus, although most available spaces occur in private lots. Even if private lots were public, the parking surplus could quickly become a deficit given the land use intensities called for in the Land Use Element. Therefore, a dual strategy for addressing parking in downtown includes:

  • Implementing shared parking arrangements to better utilize the existing parking space inventory.
  • Providing public parking lots and/or structures to accommodate future demand associated with new development.

Shared Parking

The shared parking concept is based on the premise that hourly accumulation of vehicles is significantly different among land uses. These differences in time provide an opportunity to share the use of parking facilities. Offices and retail businesses create peak parking demand during the midday, whereas restaurants, cinemas, and residences peak in the evening. Based on the shifting peaks, parking space requirements can be reduced when shared parking is employed. When land uses are combined, as in downtown, the resulting demand for parking is less than the demand generated by separate freestanding developments of similar size and character.

Downtown Parking Management Plan

The city has adopted a Downtown Parking Management Plan that provides for a variety of parking strategies for commercial businesses (retail, office, and restaurants) in the downtown area. Shared parking represents a key strategy available to address parking issues throughout downtown.

Other strategies include clustered parking, in-lieu parking fees, demand-based parking requirements, and preferential parking for ride-share vehicles. Parking management strategies can be combined with transportation demand management options (transit, carpools, etc.) to better use parking resources while reducing solo occupant commute trips. Key issues the city will consider when implementing the parking strategies include:

  • Create incentives to encourage sufficient, not excessive parking.
  • Facilitate more efficient use of parking.
  • Improve signage and information to guide drivers to available parking spaces located at strategic locations.
  • Use time limits and parking restrictions to better manage the use of prime parking resources.
  • Protect residential parking areas.
  • Discourage parking spillover.
  • Encourage the use of alternative modes, transit, and pedestrian friendly design.

Goal Seven

Ensure the adequate provision of parking to support businesses in downtown.

  • Policy 7.1
    Pursue shared parking arrangements for private parking lots in downtown.
  • Policy 7.2
    Invest in public parking lots and/or structures as the need for additional parking increases due to intensification of land use in downtown pursuant to Land Use Element policies.
  • Policy 7.3
    Adopt standards and/or an ordinance that acknowledges peak parking requirements for mixed uses are lower than freestanding development.
  • Policy 7.4
    Continue to implement strategies contained in the Downtown Parking Management Plan.