The Future of Parking (And What to Do Now)

February 26, 2020
Multifamily

Amidst the urban growth in recent years, parking legislation has experienced some shifts concerning zoning codes for new residential and commercial structures. Cities are moving toward a future with less car usage and fewer parking spaces.  A greener future is what we’re all hoping for, but with most renters driving cars still, it’s important to start managing guest and resident parking now.

Less parking development

Fewer parking spaces must mean fewer cars, right? Well, maybe not fewer cars, but fewer drivers at least. Experts in the transportation industry estimate that autonomous vehicles, or self-driving cars, will take over new car sales by 2040. However, it could be several decades before self-driving cars become the majority.

On top of that, new public transportation options are being developed in urban areas to promote live, work, play atmospheres. This looks like downtown areas that rely on walking, biking, ride-shares, and public transportation.

Nearby, in the suburbs, people are still driving cars, and need them to get around and commute to work. Sure, in the interurban areas some people can remove their car from the equation and still manage to get around town without it. Although, many urban residents still own cars and businesses still need parking. For those who live more than ten minutes from work, the grocery store, and don’t have close access to public transportation, cars and parking spaces will still be in demand.

More than 50 cities have made some sort of progress toward removing parking requirements. Strong Towns created a map to show which cities across the U.S. are discussing and removing parking minimums. In 2017, Hartford, Connecticut made the decision to remove all residential and commercial parking minimums citywide, according to the American Planning Association.

City planners are working to remove the attention from cars as the method of mobility in daily life. Urban areas will benefit from that in the future when more people flock to cities for jobs and fast-paced lifestyles. However, J Turner research shared that 67% of renters still own a car. An additional 21% of all renters own two cars. Renters still want somewhere to park their cars and they are often willing to pay for it, too.

Some new parking garage designs are intended for future repurposing. The idea is that when and if the majority of cars go away, those parking garages can be turned into office spaces or apartments.

Form-based zoning encourages density and development. A goal in removing minimum parking space requirements is more affordable housing. It’s expensive to build parking and with it out of the picture, it could mean cheaper apartments.

Renters still want parking

With the mindset of moving towards more public transportation usage, LA is looking into reducing their minimum parking regulations. Parking Boss Director of Sales - SoCal, Zach Hammond, works with multifamily communities in the LA market and pointed out that the ideal isn’t quite the current reality.

“Parking is already terrible Downtown,” he said. “So they’ll build less parking, but property managers complain to me people have more cars than ever. Managing parking well is going to become even more important.

Everyone hopes for a future with greener living, less fuel emissions, and less congested roads, but the reality is that these changes aren’t going to happen soon. Many renters still own cars and want parking where they live.

Let’s not forget that in the 2017 NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report, 71% of renters said they wouldn’t even rent without secure resident parking. So until the majority of renters are no longer driving themselves, there are still cars to park.

For now, it’s vital to find a parking platform that will increase community harmony and prepare you for whatever the future holds. Apartments built with more limited parking will need a good handle on parking management.

If you have parking, it’s good to be aware that almost 80% of adult renters ages 25 and under see visitor parking as a priority. Reserved resident parking also interested 73% of the 373,000 residents surveyed, according to the 2020 NHMC & Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences survey. There are a lot of young renters, and they want efficiency and reliability.

Get your parking under control now

In anticipation of less parking development, it’s more important than ever to have an effective parking management system. Don’t wait to start making the most of your current parking. It’s imperative to limit and track residents’ vehicles, and manage guest parking if you have it. Making sure cars from neighboring areas aren’t using your residents’ spaces will be more important as space options shrink around you.

Residents often have more vehicles than your policy allows for. If you have limited parking, this can negatively impact the ratio for other residents and guests. You can eliminate the guesswork and catch unauthorized resident vehicles with trackable decals that hold resident and vehicle information.

We suggest managing your parking with a comprehensive solution like Parking Boss. With integrated software, decals, and signage, you can know who is parked on your property at all times and can identify how many vehicles residents really own. Smart Decals can be lifesavers if you have a small space-to-unit ratio. You can even generate extra revenue from guest and resident parking.

Residents love technology add-ons and it takes a lot off your plate to use online 24/7 self-service guest parking. It’s a win-win to use something that helps you and your residents be more efficient. Having a good structure and enforcement of your parking policies can help you feel more prepared no matter what your parking ratio.

Not only can a well-managed parking solution help create community harmony, but taking control now means removing the hassle of trying to fix your parking problems later.

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