At Start-up Crossing on Freedom Boulevard in Provo, residents park everywhere they can — in the parking lot, on the surrounding streets, even across people’s driveways. That’s because the city allowed the developer to build only 50 percent of the required parking, hoping that the new residents would forego cars in favor of close mass transit.
The complex ended up with 75 spaces for 100 units. But tenants came with cars, and in some cases one unit has two of them. So now the city’s trying to come up with a new plan that will encourage development for areas in downtown Provo and transit-oriented developments, and allow developers parking credit if they can encourage residents to have fewer cars and use other forms of transit. But the city still needs to require enough parking so existing neighborhoods don’t suffer.
On Tuesday night the city council approved changes to required parking ratios for new transit-oriented developments, like Start-up Crossing, and around downtown. Though the requirements could change again after the city hires a parking manager and gets more feedback. Under the changes, the city would allow developers in these areas to have no less than 1 parking spot per one bedroom or studio unit, and 1.25 spaces per two or more bedroom unit. But that reduction to 1 and 1.25 would only happen if the developer had a transportation demand management program. A 50 percent reduction, like what happened with Start-up Crossing, wouldn’t be allowed.
“In no case will parking be less than one to one,” said Provo Community Development assistant director Bill Peperone.
“I feel like it’s not perfect, it doesn’t provide two cars for every unit but it’s better than what we have right now. It doesn’t totally fix everything but it does address needs without putting other things at risk that we’re trying to encourage in our downtown.” — Kim Santiago, Provo City Councilwoman
The transportation demand management program could include:
- Landscaped areas for future parking needs, in case one and 1.25 spaces aren’t enough.
- Bike amenities
- Coupling of rent with an on-site parking fee
- Subsidized or discounted mass transit passes for tenants
- Shuttle service
- Priority parking for carpool and van pool vehicles
- Priority parking for car sharing
- Electric vehicle charging stations
Martha Windsor, the Franklin Neighborhood vice chairwoman, said the changes don’t require enough parking. “I’m not sure why you don’t understand what the parking needs are.”
Councilwoman Kim Santiago said the changes allow development to happen, and require more parking than the current law.
“I feel like it’s not perfect, it doesn’t provide two cars for every unit but it’s better than what we have right now,” she said. … “It doesn’t totally fix everything but it does address needs without putting other things at risk that we’re trying to encourage in our downtown.”
Councilman David Sewell said he thinks the changes are a good interim solution. And the council is prepared to revisit the issue as soon as it gets recommendations from the new parking manager. The city’s trying to anticipate trends, use of mass transit and changes in behavior. “I do think whatever we do we’re trying to strike a balance without the benefit of a crystal ball.”
The changes also include additional parking for developments in the Joaquin Neighborhood south of BYU. It increases the requirement from .7 spaces per bed to .8, plus .2 spaces per unit for handicapped and visitor parking.