The Transit & Parking Advisory Committee was the driving factor for increased enforcement of downtown parking policies; as a result, considerable on-street parking has become available to visitors, customers and clients of downtown businesses. The committee’s comprehensive report now recommends not only consistent enforcement, but also flexible parking strategies in response to special events and the selective deployment of parking meters.
The Transit & Parking Advisory Committee has identified general recommendations:
- Maximize efficiency of current transit & parking operations
Create a strong transit & parking system business plan
- Enhance communications about the transit & parking system
- Implement new technology—and use it effectively
- Institute a “customer care” program
- Provide flexibility to respond to special events and changing needs
Coordination & Collaboration
An effective downtown transportation plan should be developed that considers pedestrian, bicycle, carpool, vanpool, bus, rail, Flexcar and parking as coordinated elements of a strategic transportation system. The Transit & Parking Advisory Committee will continue to work with the Commute Trip Reduction programs of both Tacoma and Pierce County to encourage participation from both large and small employers.
The Transit & Parking Advisory Committee encourages the City of Tacoma to more aggressively pursue enforcement against “chain” parking (now termed “moving to evade”) while at the same time encouraging broader support for use of transit and other commute alternatives by employees of member firms in the downtown Tacoma area. A more robust, employer-based transportation demand management (TDM) program should be pursued to provide effective, customer focused alternatives to parking.
Meters—Charging for On-Street Parking
The Transit & Parking Advisory Committee believes that selectively deploying pay stations or other forms of on-street metering has merit for “inventory control” purposes as well as for establishing a stronger revenue package as security for bonding. In the few areas that have sufficient demand consistently with occupancy significantly above 85 percent, the City could install parking meters and begin charging a very minimal amount.
Expenditure of Funds Gathered from On-Street Metering
The City of Tacoma should direct the funds gathered from metering in a distinct neighborhood or subarea of downtown into amenities that will benefit that specific neighborhood. Funds earned in excess of the real costs of operating the metering system should be expended upon clearly-related public improvements such as a streetcar line and/or streetscape improvements. The Transit & Parking Advisory Committee recommends that a stakeholder group be formed or tasked to direct the investment of these funds in the local neighborhood.
Removal of Off-Street Parking Required for New Construction
Removing the off-street parking requirement may allow developers the flexibility to build the amount of parking that the market requires. This step should only be considered, however, within the context of a more robust transportation demand management program than currently exists.
The document was endorsed yesterday morning by the Chamber; previous endorsements were made by the BIA, the Downtown Merchants Group, and the New Tacoma Neighborhood Council.