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Addressing Parking Garage Issues Through TDM

Keara Mehlert
Keara Mehlert January 30, 2017 Keara Mehlert is a former Property & Development Services Program Director at Arlington Transportation Partners. She has been car-free and loving it for the past five years and has been biking 5.5 miles to work every day since October 2012.
ATP Takeaway: Parking garages are either too full or underused. Using strategies like designating spots exclusively for carpools or vanpools, or converting spots into bicycle parking areas can solves these issues.

For property and asset managers, parking at office buildings is often a separate component of a building’s operations. Often, it’s handed off to parking management companies to administer day-to-day garage operations, leaving one less thing for building managers to deal with in their busy schedules. However, parking can have a major impact on the overall success of a building and without careful consideration, elements such as revenue and tenant satisfaction can be affected.

While every building garage is different and can face various issues depending on location, building occupancy, and tenant profiles–there are strategies that can improve efficiency of a garage, reduce traffic, and get the most use out of the space while benefiting tenants.

In urban areas, access to transportation options such as public transit, biking, walking, and even the growth of on-demand ridehailing services has reduced the need for all the employees in a building to drive to work. Therefore, many buildings built in the past 30 years have far too much parking that sits empty during the workday. On the flipside, the design of office space has changed significantly in recent years with the reduction of square footage per employee. As the number of staff grows without expanding office space, some buildings are finding they actually don’t have enough parking to meet demand.

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Here in Arlington, many buildings find their parking occupancy is underutilized and well below the available supply

Transportation demand management can be an effective way to address issues of too little parking or too much parking at an office building. Through collaboration with parking operators, property managers can implement easy and low cost programs to better serve tenants’ parking needs and enhance the amenities at the property.

Carpool and Vanpool Parking Programs

Buildings with parking shortages can free up spaces by designating carpool/vanpool-only spaces and providing incentives such as discounted rates to tenants who rideshare to work. ATP can provide garage operators with sample carpool/vanpool policies and enrollment forms to get started. We also can provide support directly to tenants to help form ridematches among employees who may interested in carpooling or vanpooling to work.

Carshare Parking

For buildings that have a consistently lower parking occupancy and aren’t able to fill all the available spaces, offering a special rate to carshare companies to lease spots and park their vehicles in the garage can provide additional revenue to building owners and also another amenity tenants.

Bike Amenities

As biking to work grows more popular, consider converting a couple empty parking spaces into bike parking for tenants. Up to 10 bikes can fit into one parking spot, making it an effective use of space and providing another amenity to tenants. Garages can also provide electric bike parking similar to electric vehicle parking as well as bike repair kits and maintenance tools for bike commuters in the building.

We can provide customized support to property managers and garage operators on the programs above – ultimately to meet tenants’ transportation needs and reach a higher return on investment for building owners. 

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Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/Kittner.com for Arlington Transportation Partners

Tags: Carpool, Property & Development, Vanpool, Commute

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