Parking Structure Technical Report: Challenges, Opportunities & Best Practices

A rooftop parking lot.
Karl Nielsen

Parking structures are one of the most conspicuous “solutions” to a community’s parking challenges. In some cases, parking structures are the best solution and numerous examples exist where parking structures have improved parking conditions, the overall transportation network and quality of the neighborhood, and allowed for transit-oriented development that would not take place otherwise.

At the same time, if not properly evaluated, parking structures can be built in places and in ways that have significant negative impacts. The level of investment in parking structures in the Bay Area is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. However, there is limited available information or shared knowledge about parking structures and how they impact local communities in both positive and negative ways.

This paper identifies key issues and provides guidance for local jurisdictions and transit agencies as they consider the development of new parking structures. It includes the following components: 

  • A regional overview of parking structures in the Bay Area
  • A summary of the opportunities and challenges related with parking structures
  • An evaluation of parking at transit stations, including a discussion of parking in the context of development at transit stations
  • A proposed framework for local evaluation and implementation, as well as some specific guidance for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in its role as a regional funder

This paper was prepared in June 2012 for Valerie Knepper, MTC Regional Parking Initiative by Nelson/Nygard and Dyett & Bhatia.

Download the Parking Structure Technical Report (PDF).