Less Parking, Better Centers

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

A two-year study in New England found that 24 percent less parking is needed when uses are mixed. Norman Garrick and Wesley Marshall of the University of Connecticut examined six Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont centers. 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 about 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 an extensive recent survey of mixed-use development led by Reid Ewing. During peak demand season — 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 80 percent of the total parking was occupied during the peak in West Hartford Center and the two downtowns.