Tag Archives: municipalities

BEAUTY AND A FUNCTIONAL BEAST

BEAUTY AND A FUNCTIONAL BEAST

Form and function meet in Sarasota’s State Street Parking Garage

When Sarasota, Fla.’s city planners decided to develop a new parking structure, they saw it as an essential element of the city’s drive to promote economic growth. In fact, the city’s downtown parking master plan is largely designed to enhance the vitality of downtown development by encouraging visitors and employees of local businesses to park in centrally located garages and lots and use pedestrian ways to reach their ultimate destinations. The six-story, 397-space State Street Parking Garage is the second of a series of parking facilities planned for downtown Sarasota.

Ultimately, the parking master plan will provide city planners the flexibility to re-align or reduce the number of on-street parking spaces to increase sidewalk widths and pedestrian activity areas. Also, by centralizing parking, the plan minimizes the amount of parking area businesses need to develop to meet their needs. As a result, developers and building owners can focus their development investments on creating income-producing commercial and residential space rather than parking. In addition to supporting local businesses, this element of the parking master plan is also leading to the development of lower, more attractive, and more functional buildings.

Sarasota’s plan provides a terrific example of how strategic parking planning can help make cities more walkable, business-friendly, and congestion-free. In addition to providing wider sidewalks for pedestrians, the city’s plan also increases and improves landscaping downtown, provides new benches for visitors, and permits restaurants to provide outdoor services on the newly widened sidewalks.

Safe, More Convenient Parking In light of the important role parking is to play in Sarasota’s downtown plan, the primary goal of designers was to create a facility parkers would want to use. This was no small feat, considering the site’s small footprint. The site’s depth of just 105 feet with a 20-foot-wide alley created a significant design challenge. Not only did designers need to create a functional, parker-friendly facility on this small footprint, but they had to do so in a way that would support the development of a planned multi-level office or residential liner building that will be built on an adjacent site to the west of the garage. The design also needed to accommodate a 58,000 gallon stormwater detention vault, which was ultimately tucked under the ramp at ground level.

Finally, the design needed to accommodate the future implementation of a renewable energy program. To this end, the project’s parking consultants from Walker Parking included in the design the necessary infrastructure for the future installation of a photovoltaic system above the top parking level.

The functional design resulted in a two-bay-wide, six-level-high, single-threaded helix structure with parking on one flat bay and one ramped bay. With the exception of two spaces at ground level, that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, all 397 spaces are provided on the elevated floors and provide parking for visitors and employees of local downtown businesses. The deck’s footprint is 298 feet by 105 feet, and site boundary constraints resulted in only one row of parking being included at the ramps. The garage’s columns are typically spaced at 24 feet on center, with 48 feet at the end of bays. The north parking bay is 60 feet wide, and the south ramp bay is 45 feet wide.

Traffic flow is always a challenge in such small footprints. The consultant was able to achieve two-way flow with 9-foot by 18-foot, 90-degree stalls. These dimensions permit safe and convenient traffic flow combined with convenient parking. The typical floor-to-floor height is 10 feet, six inches, except at the ground level, which is 17 feet high to accommodate the 14,000-square-foot ground-level retail shell with a loading dock at the back of the structure. The 10-foot-high ceilings on the parking levels offer a more comfortable, customer-friendly parking experience while enhancing safety by improving visibility throughout the structure.

Access to the garage from State Street on the north is provided by an entry/exit on the east end of the deck. A second entry/exit on the east end is provided from Ringling Boulevard to the south through a 150-foot-long, two-way driveway to the garage. This driveway also
provides access to the alley bordering the south side of the structure, allowing access to the loading dock and utilities beneath the ramp. To allow tight turns for large trucks into the alley, traffic flow in the alley is one way, from east to west.

Pedestrian flow was also an essential design element. To provide the safest and most convenient experience, pedestrians are directed to two separate elevator and stair towers, one at the northwest corner of the deck and the other on the north side near the State Street entrance.

Two final design elements revolved around lighting and security. When it came to lighting, the primary focus of the electrical design was energy efficiency. Designers selected LED light fixtures arranged in locations to provide good light uniformity, exceeding Illuminating Engineering Society standards and providing a safer, more customer-friendly, and more energy-efficient experience. A lighting control system comprised of timers and photo cells further enhances energy efficiency by permitting parking operators to tailor lighting requirements around peak utilization and other considerations. The electrical system is backed up by an uninterrupted power system that provides energy for the emergency lights, and additional safety features include a surge protection system, emergency phone assistance stations, and an elevator recall system.

The electrical design also supports the city’s goal of promoting sustainable energy use with the addition of four electric vehicle charging stations. These stations are located near the northwest stair and elevator tower at the second level.

Security was an equally important design consideration. Passive security features include open stair towers with emergency phones. In addition, the interior of the deck, the stair towers, and the ground-level perimeter are well-illuminated to improve visibility throughout the facility. The design also includes infrastructure to permit future expansion of security elements, including the installation of a conduit for future security cameras at the lobbies of the stair elevator towers and multiple locations throughout the deck.

Tampa-based general contracting firm A.D. Morgan oversaw the construction of the garage, working closely with the development team, the city, and neighboring businesses. The garage structure is cast-in-place post-tensioned slabs, beams, and girders supported on a drilled shaft foundation system. The ground level is slab-on-grade construction placed on compacted fill. The structure’s stair and elevator towers are cast-in-place with conventionally reinforced walls, slabs, and beams with a structural steel gable-framed roof.

Form Meets Function
The State Street Garage’s architecture was a key element of its design. Because of its central downtown location, the garage needed to be attractive as well as functional. As a Sarasota-based architect, Harvard Jolly Architects was intimately familiar with the character of downtown Sarasota and able to design a structure that fits seamlessly—and beautifully—with its neighbors.

The garage’s attractive design presents the classical look of a residential apartment building that perfectly complements the surrounding buildings. The primary north facade along State Street is expressed with precast architectural panels with accented bands around window openings and 12-inch-deep sill ledges with dentils.

The main vehicle entry from State Street is the garage’s architectural focal point. It features precast architectural panels with arches and articulated stone veneers at vehicle and pedestrian entrances. Column panels with column capitals and bases are set in front of the precast panels. The east end of the building is block infill between the horizontal cast-in-place beams, and the east face has a stucco finish with custom foam shapes with polyurethane hard coat for columns, capitals, window surrounds, and cornices. The west elevation of the garage is masonry block infill panels between horizontal cast-in-place beams and vertical columns with no openings or trim to abut the future adjacent liner building.

The structure’s ground floor is designed to house future retail establishments, and the exterior architecture is designed to appeal to customers of these establishments while complementing the rest of the building. Continuous glazing along the ground floor and a combination of canopies and brick pavers for sidewalks with landscaping achieve a presentation that’s accessible and welcoming for pedestrians.

A final architectural accent is provided through landscape architecture. The design, which was  created by Sarasota-based David Johnston Architects, features a combination of palm trees,  shrubs, and deciduous trees to provide an attractive, welcoming environment outside of the parking facility.

Well-Earned Recognition
The State Street Garage has been well-received locally and is already considered a Sarasota landmark. It has also achieved wider recognition, having won two awards from the Florida Parking Association (FPA): the 2015 FPA Award of Merit for Parking Structure Architecture and the 2015 Award of Merit for Parking Structure Design.

BILL SMITH, APR, is principal of Smith-Phillips Strategic Communications. He can be reached at bsmith@smith-phillips.com or 603.491.4280

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SERVING MULTIPLE MASTERS

SERVING MULTIPLE MASTERS

How incorporating nine parking best practices boosted a new garage at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Long gone are the days when the drab, utilitarian dorm room sized for a sardine was a rite of passage for an incoming freshman at a college campus. Today’s college student is looking for an interactive, amenity-driven lifestyle that goes beyond academics. Universities are listening and with good reason: Multiple studies, including one by University of California, Los Angeles’ Higher Education Research Institute, have found that students who live on campus have higher graduation rates than those who do not. From state-of-the-art facilities to high-quality student housing, today’s higher education institutions are exploring innovative ways to offer students a more multi-faceted, compelling community environment that not only appeals to the modern student but also positions him or her for greater success.

Buried within this trend is a chronic issue nearly all college campuses face: supporting new growth with efficient parking. Parking for higher education has always been a limited resource, and new construction inevitably consumes existing lots. Therefore, maintaining well-integrated parking is critical to the success of this ongoing campus transformation.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is among the plethora of universities investing in new infrastructure that follows this trend. Currently under construction, the new Student Housing South residential community was envisioned to support the university’s strategic vision to create a vibrant residential campus that connects academic and social lives while enhancing student success. The complex, which will include new dormitories and amenities, will be built on an existing parking lot. Watry Design, Inc. was selected to design a parking structure that would support the project and integrate it with the environment. Among the responsibilities assigned was to ensure that the design followed best parking practices for higher education.

Watry’s goal was to design a parking structure the university could be proud of. It’s about a lot more than just providing parking. To successfully integrate parking, we take into consideration the context of the site from an architectural standpoint as well as walkability. What are the needs of the various user groups? How can we help meet sustainability goals?

From sustainability to modal integration and security, the education parking best practices that follow are designed to address every area of parking as it specifically relates to the needs of higher education. How does your campus parking stack up?

Understand Campus User Groups
A successful parking design requires a thorough understanding of the various user groups on campus. Faculty, students, and special-event parkers all have different needs and use patterns that vary depending on day of the week and time of day. The Cal Poly structure is intended to serve multiple user groups that include administration and visitors in addition to students and faculty, which the design takes into account. The garage provides two-way vehicle circulation with 90-degree parking in a two-column bay configuration. In other words, the Cal Poly structure offers an intuitive route through the garage with parking stalls that are easy to get into and out of. Stair and elevator core locations are easy to locate, whether a patron is a frequent user or first-time visitor.

Consider the Context of the Site
It is important to understand the relationship between a site and its adjacencies to design an effective parking solution. Beyond its effect on the architectural design, this understanding is a driver in determining the physical location of parking within the site. Considerations such as access to and egress from the site, capacity of surrounding streets, and the effects structured parking will have on traffic patterns factored into the design-build team’s decision to locate the garage away from student housing. The Cal Poly site is arranged so that the student housing and ancillary buildings face Grand Avenue, a major circulation road on campus that serves all forms of traffic: private vehicle, pedestrian, and public transit. While creating easy access for all modes of transportation via a rear vehicle circulation road off Grand Avenue, locating the parking structure entry and exit at the rear of the site places prominence on the student housing buildings.

Integrate Modes and Mitigate Conflicts
For education parking to be successful, a network of safe, direct, and attractively landscaped pedestrian and bike paths must connect the various areas of campus. Possibly the biggest challenges in developing these paths are the potential conflicts between pedestrians, bikes, autos, shuttles, and other modes of transit. It is important to protect pedestrians and other modes from more danger-ous modes. In addition, each mode is more efficient when effective design isolates and separates from the others. For example, a pedestrian walkway should be protected from vehicles with bollards or landscaping wherever possible. In the case of Cal Poly, the design team was able to utilize the unique hillside grading of the site to avoid pedestrian and vehicular conflicts. Vehicle entry and exit are located away from the student housing central core at a lower level elevation, while pedestrians head to their destinations via upper grade exits at the opposite side of the structure. This configuration eliminates the conflicts created when pedestrian and vehicle circulation routes cross each other.

Explore Mixed-Use
As campuses densify, combining mixed uses, such as a sports field or other campus facilities, can play an important role in creating a more secure, lively environment. As mentioned above, Cal Poly is incorporating this best practice by wrapping three sides of the parking structure with ancillary functions, such as a small café, community room, and welcome center. This not only integrates the parking structure more effectively into its surroundings but also supports the university’s mission to position its students for higher success by creating a rich, amenity-laden experience that fosters greater connectivity and engagement.

Develop a Parking Management Plan
Every campus needs a comprehensive parking management plan to address peak parking demand periods. University parking facilities are typically at capacity or beyond at the beginning of every quarter or semester and during special events. This results in using 100 percent or more of the parking resources. Having a plan in place to deal with these situations will improve the parking experience for all users. Cal Poly currently has in place a parking management plan, which will be critical for the new parking structure due to its proximity to other buildings, such as the Performing Arts Center.

Connect with Transit
Parking should form a connection point with other modes of transportation. For example, shuttle and bus stops can be incorporated or kiosks providing their location can be integrated. Ample bike parking should be provided. Student Housing South was designed to encourage alternate modes of transportation, from bike racks within proximity of the parking structure and throughout the project to a plentiful network of sidewalks that guide users to their destinations once they leave the garage. There are four bus transit stations within a half-mile of the parking structure that can be utilized to further travel around the campus and San Luis Obispo. In addition, infrastructure is being provided at 15 parking stalls to accommodate future electric vehicle charging stations.

Design with Sustainability in Mind
Sustainable parking design best practices should be incorporated into each solution. Universities can utilize the United States Green Building Council’s Parksmart Certification as a guideline and even achieve certification without adding significant cost to the project. From vegetated swales for stormwater management to LED lighting to the incorporation of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and geothermal loops, these measures illustrate a campus’s commitment to sustainability. The Cal Poly structure is incorporating a photovoltatic array on the roof level. This will not only help provide additional power but will also reduce the heat island effect of the roof deck. Additional sustainable features that have been integrated into the design are LED lighting and recycled content in building materials.

Incorporate Appropriate Security
Security is a prime concern in all parking structure environments but especially on campuses. Passive security or crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED; see the March 2016 issue of The Parking Professional for more), such as glass-backed elevators, open stairwells, and the elimination of hiding spots behind walls, can be very effective at deterring crime. In addition, active security measures should be considered based on location, such as code blue emergency phones and a video surveillance system. Security features integrated into the design at Cal Poly include stairwells that are open to the garage’s interior; increased visibility gained by eliminating columns that can obstruct views and create hiding places; and installation of of code blue emergency phones.

Provide Clear Wayfinding
Clear wayfinding is a requirement for all campus environments. Informational kiosks and plentiful signage should aid users not only in reaching their destinations but also on return. For example, the elevator and stair towers of a parking structure serve as powerful wayfinding elements. The Cal Poly parking structure provides clear views of the stairs and elevators from any point in the structure, making wayfinding easy and intuitive for both new users and those already familiar with the layout.

By designing well-integrated parking into a campus project, universities can effectively continue to expand and meet the evolving needs of students, faculty, and visitors without sacrificing what is already a scarce resource on nearly every college campus across the country.

MICHAEL PENDERGRASS, AIA, LEED AP, is Watry Design’s associate principal. He can be reached at mpendergrass@watrydesign.com

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IPMI Webinar: Potential Impacts of City-Level Parking Cash-Out and Transit Benefit Ordinances

OFFERED FREE TO MEMBERS THROUGH JUNE 2020.

Regular Pricing: $35.00 for IPMI Members, $50.00 for Non-Members

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The vast majority of employers provide their employees free parking at work, which encourages employees to drive alone. Parking cash-out enables employees to choose cash instead of free, employer-provided parking, substantially reducing the rate at which people drive alone to work. But this has not been implemented broadly. This presentation will provide an overview of cash-out policies; highlight the results of a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) analysis of six different possible cash-out ordinances, for nine different cities, to estimate their potential impacts; and offer information on the real-world implementation of cash-out policies at the municipal level. A literature review of the impacts of parking pricing and commuter incentives will be shared as part of the presentation.

  • Objectives:
    Inform the audience of the expected benefits of commute pricing incentives to improve parking management, including better utilization of existing parking supply and reduced vehicle-miles traveled in turn leading to less congestion and reductions in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and other related externalities.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different city-level parking pricing and incentive policies in terms of both implementation challenges and policy impacts.
  • Explore the robust and creative analytical, techniques used to evaluate policy alternatives and how they can take advantage of the work performed in the FHWA project to help with their own analysis.

Presenters:

Allen Greenberg, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, has analyzed and advocated for sustainable U.S transportation policy from both inside and outside of government for 25 years. As a senior policy analyst at the Federal Highway Administration, Mr. Greenberg cultivates, develops, and manages transportation pricing pilot initiatives, including many parking pricing projects. Earlier, Mr. Greenberg worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and League of American Bicyclists. He holds a Master in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Virginia and a B.S. in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

 

 

 

Colleen Stoll, City of Santa Monica, Calif., is the Transportation Demand Management Program Manager for the City of Santa Monica. The TDM program proactively manages congestion, improves air quality, and reduces automobile dependence in Santa Monica. It requires annual trip reduction plans from developers and employers with 10 or more employees. When Santa Monica started the TDM Program over twenty years ago, the number of solo drivers driving to work was 80 percent. Today, that number has been reduced to 62 percent in the mornings, and 58 percent in the afternoons. Last year, that translated to over 12,300 fewer car trips per day.

Scales of Justice: Rethinking Parking Fines

parking fines, social, justiceBy Matt Darst and Michael Brown

On a recent trip, I counted more than a dozen illegally parked vehicles traveling from my quarters to a coffee shop just two blocks away. Despite street sweeping bans  in effect, a number of motorists decided to park illegally. I wondered why so many drivers would risk citations.

The average household income in this particular neighborhood is pretty high. Motorists likely reasoned that the risk of a citation was less than the opportunity cost of searching for legal parking someplace else.

Parking laws exist for a reason. Cities often establish fine values based on the specific social harm (affecting disabled people, exacerbating supply side problems, making it more difficult for others to park, etc.) a particular infraction creates and the need for deterrence. Generally, infractions fit in one of three categories:

  • Level 1: Violations that promote public safety and access for persons with disabilities. The most egregious infractions typically carry the highest fines.
  • Level 2: Citations that mitigate traffic. Less egregious, but important to mobility goals.
  • Level 3: Infractions that affect the quality of life. These are citations designed to promote general order and beautification and they’re the cheapest fines.

Just as the resultant social harm varies across violation types, the damage caused by illegal parking can vary by date, time, and location. A person who fails to pay a parking meter at 7 a.m. on a Monday when the spaces are only 10 percent occupied does not create the same social harm as someone who does it at 7 p.m. on a Friday when there’s no available parking. Cities often try to address this by creating zones with varying fine schedules, but that strategy fails to recognize the dramatic shifts in curbside utilization throughout a day.

Similar to the concept of curbside demand management employed by Washington, D.C., maybe cities should tie level 1 fines to occupancy, reducing the fees when demand is low and increasing penalties when demand is high.

We wonder if people in disadvantaged neighborhoods are as likely to ignore street sweeping restrictions as people in wealthier areas. If fines have a greater deterrent value in underserved communities, maybe cities should consider linking residential penalties such as street sweeping to the economics/demographics of each neighborhood. A sliding scale for fines and penalties tailored to the true social harm created by various infractions could have several benefits, including reducing congestion, improving the quality of life in neighborhoods, and improving revenue by redistributing the greatest penalties to those who either cause the most harm to society or fail to be deterred from parking in contravention of posted restrictions.

At the end of the day, all parking professionals strive to make the administration of the curb fairer. Rethinking fine structures could potentially deter illegal parking, reduce the comparative social harm, and help encourage social equity.

Matt Darst is senior director, parking and mobility, and Michael Brown is national director of collections, with Conduent.

The Future of Fleets

Cover of the January issue of Parking & Mobility magazineFleets of self-driving vehicles are about to become the norm. What does that mean for the parking and mobility industry? We’ll give you a hint: They’re driverless. Autonomous vehicles will change the fundamentals of the entire transportation landscape, and that includes fleets–and the way they interact with parking and mobility facilities and infrastructure.

Jesse Garcia, director, strategy and corporate development with ParkMobile, shares research and predictions for fleets and what upcoming changes will mean in the latest issue of Parking & Mobility, including who will own them, how they’ll operate, what they’ll mean for parking and mobility organizations (particularly in municipalities), and how to prepare for the disruption to come.

“There is much more to the autonomous fleets of the future than simply removing the need for a driver,” he writes. Read more here.