Parking Needs a Seat at the New Mobility Table

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In preparing Curb Management:  Teaching an “Old Dog” New Tricks for the Pennsylvania Parking Association’s fall education seminars, a number of issues became readily apparent regarding “new mobility” concepts and their game-changing potential for the parking manager. 

First and foremost, parking managers need to claim their seats at the “new mobility” table. 

Advocates for Complete Streets and Vision Zero programs already are seated at many decision-making tables with elected officials.  But from what we’ve seen, decisions affecting the curb are not always being made with the benefit of input from parking managers.

The goals of municipal agencies and other groups promoting concepts such as dedicated bike lanes, TNCs (Uber, Lyft, etc.), drop-off zones, bus-only lanes, bike corrals, etc. are worthy, indeed.  However, they also have the potential to displace a significant number of on-street metered and loading spaces, which raises certain questions, such as:

 ■  Where will those cars now parking at the curb go? 

 ■ Will drivers circulate in traffic (perhaps in one less traffic lane) in their hunt for short-term parking? 

 ■  Will they be tempted to violate safety zones? 

 ■  What will happen to the Level of Service for moving traffic at rush hour?

These questions reinforce the need for parking managers to have a voice when changes to the curb are being contemplated that will affect parking conditions. 

And when that voice is based on sound statistics (such as violation rates in safety and loading zones, meter turnover, violation and capture rates), the manager will be able to effectively adjust patrol beats, deployment schemes and parking prices.  These changes may facilitate new mobility goals, but also may ensure that the nearby on-street regulations remain supportive of the local economy.

We invite you to view CMA’s presentation and recommendations for parking managers to have a voice in “new mobility” issues.

Joseph Sciulli