Go for good parking management
Good parking management has been shown to be a game changer in cities: it frees public space, supports local businesses, reduces search travel, reduces car travel while increasing sustainable transport modes, improves access for freight travel, generates revenue, increases safety, supports urban planning and can make cities more attractive. All this can be achieved at relatively low cost – it can even pay for itself! On the other hand, bad parking management can achieve the opposite, such as cluttered urban space, reduced access for sustainable modes, reduced safety and a very car-oriented city structure.
The project Push&Pull has developed several important recommendations, how to achieve good parking management.
•Use parking management strategically: By all means - do not merely tax parking. Parking can provide you with income, reduce unwanted car travel, increase access, influence the modal split, influence car ownership, free public space. Integrate the parking in your overall mobility plan and set goals!
•Implement both push AND pull: Push means reducing the privileges of the car: e.g. extension of paid parking zone, increasing prices, introducing paid parking for residents. This is often unpopular, at least at first sight.But when it is combined with pull measures: e.g. improved public transport, new bicycle lanes and bicycle parking, simplified parking procedures, mobility management… then it eases the introduction of the push measures and makes the benefits more visible. Simultaneous introduction of both push and pull measures together is the optimum.
•Make clever and visible use of the parking revenue: Every Push&Pull city implemented the so-called “core funding mechanism”. This means that the parking revenue is at least partly earmarked and used to finance the parking management costs (e.g. staff, infrastructure, technology), the “pull” measures and even the general city budget. If this is made transparent and communicated well, the general public can directly see the great benefits delivered by the parking management
•Improve and expand! All cities started with relatively small schemes. Cities that have had parking management for over a decade or even longer have all greatly expanded and improved and use it more and more as a strategic tool for managing mobility. As good example see developments in Graz, Austria from 1979 to today.
The shining example: Ghent
Ghent is so inspiring because it is of course a beautiful, energetic, historic city and has great hospitality, but also because firstly – it heeds all of the above recommendations so well and secondly – it has moved the strategic integration of parking management to a whole new level: in 2012 they integrated the parking company and the mobility department of the city into the Mobility Company (Mobiliteitsbedrijf). The new externally hired director had to integrate two whole different corporate cultures and has doubled the number of employees (currently about 160). The company is 100% owned by the city, accountable to the city, but autonomous with its own budget – that for the largest part is constituted by parking revenues. This provides some major advantages:
•They can easily and strategically invest in sustainable mobility
•They have a coherent approach and data
•It is an integrated management – without the “department separation” as is usual in cities
•And they have continuity also across elections (assures long-term thinking, planning and practice)
Here are some of their achievements:
•They have implemented a very detailed Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan with very ambitious goals (download here in Dutch language 27MB)
•Part of it is a new parking plan, which is already being realised and has almost doubled the number of managed paid parking spaces and completely modernised the system (practically paperless and fully digital).
•Another part is the so-called Circulation Plan, which will be rolled out this year and double the already very extensive pedestrian zone, and separate a quite large part of the central area of the city into separate zones, that by car can only be accessed by the ring road. The aim is to reduce car-based through traffic to zero and substantially increase walking, cycling and public transport – as well as reclaiming public space.
•For this reclaiming there is also an extensive living streets programme, in which citizens of any city street can apply for temporary or more permanent transformation of their city into “living streets”.
•For cycling Ghent is realising the ambitious target of having on-street cycle parking space available within 100m of every citizen’s dwelling.
•And all this does not cost the city one cent – to the contrary, in 2015 the Mobility Company delivered €6 million to the general city budget – and this figure is bound to increase with the new extended parking zone.
Great examples from other P&P cities
We presented Ghent to show at least one fuller picture of a P&P city policy, but the other cities have also implemented pioneering measures. Here are a few examples:
Örebro in Sweden is growing over 1%/year and seeks to minimise the car orientation of new development. For this, it has overhauled its parking standards: it has generally lowered the minimum requirements and introduced maximum parking allowances. Further it has introduced collective garages instead of garages for each house – thus incentivising use of public transport, cycling and walking.
Nottingham is the first city in the UK and indeed in Europe that introduced a Workplace Parking Levy: any business with more than 10 employee parking spaces has to pay almost €400/year for each space. This was accepted, as Nottingham used the revenue (currently about €8 million/year) to greatly improve its public transport system and introduce two new tram lines.
The two Romanian cities Bacau and Iasi could profit from the Romanian parking guidelines developed by Push&Pull as a pilot example for all European New Member States where such guidelines are lacking. Bacau and Iasi were thus pioneers in their country for establishing a more integrated parking policy.
Tarragona in Spain introduced access restrictions for the historic city, introduced a new tariff structure and built new parking structures at the edge of the inner city. All this lowered the average parking space occupancy from 99% to about 80%, which reduced parking search traffic to a minimum and now has many visitors walking to the city centre (Park and Walk). For details, see fact sheet.
At Ljubljana University there was a conflict of interests as the new university site was very car oriented. Still, the project team managed to introduce paid parking and achieved a start in parking management. The greater success is the extension of the core funding mechanism to several more cities in Slovenia (e.g. Skofia Loka). This transfer also happened in Sweden – where Jönköping is taking up the example of Örebro. No doubt more cities will follow.
Krakow fully implemented the whole Push&Pull package: greatly extending paid parking, abolishing a lot of parking spaces, using the public space and the revenue for more liveable streets, more space for walking, creating over 1,000 cycle racks, carrying out several mobility campaigns and finally integrating parking policy in the city’s mobility policy
This is an extract from the e-update Februrary 2017 published by epomm.eu (European Platform on Mobility Management). It is also available in French, German and many other languages. SUTP is very grateful to epomm.eu for sharing its valuable resources with the SUTP community! SUTP has contributed the Spanish translation.