Emerging Parking and Mobility Partners

By L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

In the past year or two, I have noticed what seems to be an encouraging trend related to an increased interest and focus on parking and mobility issues by inter-governmental and planning organizations. Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in particular have become much more active in funding and leading parking and mobility projects in their jurisdictions.

In the past few years, we have worked on several parking and mobility studies for urban areas funded by MPOs. These projects are often managed in collaboration with local municipalities. It is exciting to see the universe of planning professionals recognizing the importance of parking and mobility as key levers to affect the larger issues of congestion management, economic development, environmental sustainability, and even community resiliency.

One example of this is an RFP put out by the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC), Utah, in conjunction with several other agencies to complete a “parking modernization initiative.” Using a case-study approach with two specific communities, the project will ultimately generate a roadmap for updating parking and mobility strategies that can be used by any Utah municipality or agency dealing with parking and mobility issues.

Local or regional councils of governments (COGs) are also sponsoring important research in parking and mobility. A few years ago, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) put out an RFP for the creation of its Regional Parking Management Toolbox “as a means of providing the communities, jurisdictions, and destinations within the San Diego region a framework for evaluating, implementing, managing, and maintaining parking management strategies to support community growth and stakeholder desires.” Kimley-Horn was fortunate to win this project and the resulting toolbox won an IPMI Award of Excellence.

Recently, my colleague, William Reynolds (RBT Consultants), and I spoke at a parking symposium sponsored by the North Texas Council of Governments in Dallas. This was an excellent regional conference and it was great to reconnect with many Texas parking professionals. One of the focus areas for this symposium was how we can better leverage data to inform parking management decisions. We presented on a project we had completed for the City of Portland, Ore., a “Performance-Based Parking Management Manual.” I  am happy to share this presentation on request.

It is great to see parking and mobility issues being addressed by a larger and more diverse group of planning and government agencies. This trend is good for everyone!

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, is regional vice president and senior practice builder with Kimley-Horn.