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Planning for Parking Series

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As a planning commissioner, one of the most common issues you are asked to consider in relation to a new development is the provision of on-site parking. How much is enough? Where should it be located? How should it be designed and landscaped? Can you have too much? Are there ways of reducing the need for parking?

The most obvious concern regarding parking is that there be enough to adequately serve new development. But there are other important considerations. Parking lots are impervious surfaces that can contribute significantly to storm water runoff problems. Large expanses of asphalt are unsightly additions to the landscape. Parking areas, to a certain extent, also contribute to creating an environment that is unfriendly to pedestrians by encouraging more traffic.

This first article in this series, The Parking Lot Conundrum, will give you an overview of the commonly used standards for determining the amount of parking required — focusing, in particular, on standards for shopping centers. The two other articles in this series, Parking Lot Design and Parking Lots: Stormwater Runoff & Shared Parking will discuss parking lot design, the environmental impacts of parking, and innovative approaches to reducing the amount of parking space needed. …

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