In order to examine the balance of supply of residents and parking spaces, the county has released a tool called Right Size Parking, which allows users to estimate how many parking spaces are enough in multi-family developments.
The Calculator is based on a model using current local data of actual parking use collected in 2012 at over 200 developments in urban and suburban localities in King County, Washington. The parking use data is correlated with factors related to the building, its occupants, and its surroundings- particularly transit, population and job concentrations. The user adjusts the scenario using variables related to the building and its location, including proximity to transit, jobs and population. Understanding the influence of these variables helps determine how much parking is “just enough” for a particular site.
The Daily Journal of Commerce reports (subscription required) that the county’s research shows developers create more parking than is needed:
As part of the project, the county studied how many parking spaces across the county are actually being used. Findings show that on average, residential developments offer 1.4 parking spaces per unit, though typically only one space is actually being used. The oversupply results in higher housing costs and may not be the best use of available land, county officials said.
That phenomenon didn’t exactly come to play in one recent Capitol HIll project we looked at. To check out the calculator, we used stats for The Lyric building, recently opened on Broadway with 234 units and 361 parking spaces for tenants and street-level retail facilities.
According to the calculator, a 234-unit building (studios and 1-2 bedrooms) in the same area with an average rent of $1,863 would use an estimated 0.76 parking space/unit, or
351 spaces 178 spaces (Without calculating space for retail.). The Lyric, according to the calculator, comes in pretty much in line with about 2% more parking than it needs according the calculations. UPDATE: Thanks for the notes on our big mistake on this calculation. As noted below in comments, a building of this size is recommended to have 178 spaces — about 24% fewer than it ended up with.
With the cost of parking running somewhere between $20,000 and $40,000 per stall, cutting any unnecessary space is a useful way to trim costs and, hopefully, reduce pressure on rising rents.
According to the county, the project, which was funded through a more than $1 million federal grant, aims to:
- Provide context-sensitive multi-family residential parking demand information on a website to guide stakeholder’s decisions about building new parking and managing existing parking.
- Offer incentives to jurisdictions and developers to test pricing and right-sizing of parking supply in residential and commercial developments;
Engage the development community through professional forums to utilize new parking demand information and implement pricing and management techniques.
The research will also be used to further analyze King County development and produce revised code models for parking.
Do your own calculations at rightsizeparking.org.