Recently, I read a story about how Downtown Chattanooga, TN has started on a quarter-million dollar study of their parking industry in anticipation of planned residential developments coming to the city. They estimate they have nearly a billion dollars in development. The article, and the price-tag, made me wonder what exactly goes into a Parking Study? I've been on the supply side of this industry for several years, so the concept isn't new to me, but I realized I never took a close look at what a 'study' implies.
Here's What I Learned
Nelson\Nygaard is a leader in the field of Parking and Transportation study. Using their in-depth knowledge of the industry, as well as open-source transit data and their own custom models they help cities and organizations to:
- Advise and help shape plans, policies, and regulations
- Work with the city to build consensus
- Provide support in building community confidence
The aim of these studies is to help cities meet economic goals and improve the quality of life for the public. For the City of Ann Arbor, they provided an in-depth analysis of their parking and transportation needs and proposed a long list of solutions and suggestions which were accepted unanimously by the City Council.
"By quantifying existing conditions, Nelson\Nygaard reshaped and clarified the impassioned debate over whether downtown has too little, too much, or just enough parking. We developed recommendations for a comprehensive parking policy, informed by intensive stakeholder outreach and feedback."
It can be difficult for city workers and council members to take a step back and look at their parking, collect public opinion and data, and ultimately aggregate that information into an actionable plan. Bringing in outside help prevents overworking existing resources while still yielding actionable results.