Less parking, better centers

Issue Date: Mon, 2008-09-01
Page Number: 8


A two-year study in New England found that when uses are mixed, 24 percent less parking is needed. Norman Garrick and Wesley Marshall of the University of Connecticut examined six centers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Three were mixed-use areas — West Hartford Center in Connecticut and the downtowns of Northampton, Massachusetts, and Brattleboro, Vermont. The other three were relatively conventional suburban sites in Connecticut: Avon Center, Glastonbury Center, and Somerset Square in Glastonbury. The UConn researchers found that in relation to the volume of building space, there was 24 percent less demand for parking in the mixed-use centers than in the conventional sites. Their study, completed in 2005, is roughly consistent with a large recent study of mixed-use development, led by Reid Ewing. During the season of peak demand — generally the holiday shopping period — cars filled 2.3 parking spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. of building space in conventional suburban developments, Garrick and Marshall found. In the traditional mixed-use centers, cars filled 1.8 parking spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. That was only part of the disparity. Garrick and Marshall discovered that in West Hartford Center and the two downtowns, 80 percent of the total parking was occupied during the peak