Using a shared parking strategy to improve use of parking facilities and lots

Paul Wessel
Published on: 

How can we better optimize our use of existing parking facilities and lots? One way is to implement a shared parking strategy in which nearby property owners who have different peak hours of parking demand share their lots with one another. 

An office building adjacent to a movie theatre might consider using a shared parking strategy—their peak usage times are complementary, with the office building accommodating most workers during the day and moviegoers often visiting the theater at night or on the weekends.

Shared parking can help reduce the amount of land needed for parking and create opportunities for more compact development, more space for pedestrian circulation or more open space and landscaping. 

It's not a new concept. It has been used extensively in traditional neighborhood commercial nodes and downtowns with higher-density office or apartment buildings, and with shops and restaurants lining the sidewalks. People often park in one spot and then walk from one destination to another. The effect is that those various uses share the same parking.

Parking is one of the largest uses of land in urban areas, especially in the suburban areas. In a typical suburban shopping center, parking occupies more land area than the building itself. 

Typically, sites with large parking lots are near other sites with equally large lots. If adjacent sites serve different purposes, each lot may lie empty for extended periods of time. Less parking space could be necessary if each lot were shared and used more efficiently.