The structure’s design will represent the community, the station area and the character of the surrounding neighborhood. Thus, appropriate investment and attention should be incorporated into the architecture and faade and public areas of the parking facility. Architectural continuity is a critical component of parking facility design. Pedestrian and vehicular access and exits and sections of the faade may be enhanced with architectural elements that contribute to the neighborhood aesthetic. These elements provide an inviting experience for the many people using the facility or passing by it. Lighting levels may be increased beyond typical levels, and components of the structure may be painted or stained to promote brightness. Passive security measures include clear sight lines, bright and effective lighting, and the elimination of dark areas.
Sustainable Design Opportunities
Parking facilities located in TODs can set the standard for sustainable design practices. Parking facilities are by nature a more efficient use of land than surface parking. Densely constructing parking, as well as other buildings, preserves significant portions of land for further development, as well as open space, which can take the form of natural habitat or landscaped plazas and planted green space.
Structured parking facilities located in mixed-use transit-oriented developments can also result in a decrease in vehicle miles traveled (VMT), This decrease occurs by allowing the opportunity to park once and walk to varied destinations, or to utilize transit, rather than driving to multiple locations.
Additional sustainable design opportunities include the integration of mixed-use, renewable on-site energy, energy-efficient lighting, storm water capture and reuse for wash downs, maintenance, and landscaping irrigation, and bicycle storage facilities, to name a few. Solar arrays can provide the predominant amount of electricity for lighting and other electrical equipment. Operators can offer car-sharing, preferred parking and charging facilities for alternative fuel vehicles, and preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles. Finally, incentives for carpoolers such as preferred parking spaces or discounted fees can effectively reduce the number of parking spaces required at a commuter parking facility.
With the implementation and practice of TOD parking strategies, the quality and viability of transit-oriented projects are significantly enhanced. Using appropriate TOD parking ratios, applying parking maximums, utilizing on-street parking and sharing parking reduce the amount of structured parking needed. Reducing parking can result in significant cost savings, both in initial construction capital outlay and ongoing operational and maintenance costs.
By applying appropriate TOD parking strategies, fewer parking spaces are needed, resulting in significant capital savings. These savings can be invested in public space upgrades, sustainable practices to reduce future energy consumption or other project enhancements that will improve and sustain the TOD community.
James Zullo, AICP, LEED AP, CAPP is vice president of Timothy Haahs & Associates Inc.