By Christie Marcella Economic Development Manager City of Carlsbad
In July, the City of Carlsbad released a draft parking management plan for the Village, Barrio and nearby beach area. The plan will serve as a road map for how the city can maximize the efficiency of existing parking, support future parking needs and encourage alternatives to driving to these busy neighborhoods.
Planning for parking is part art and part science. We did a lot of technical analysis including studies of real-time parking occupancy and duration, an updated inventory of on- and off-street parking spaces, review of best practices of other comparable coastal cities and studying various models to predict future parking needs. And we also spent time listening to the community. We appreciate the hundreds of community members who shared their thoughts. Input included more than 2,000 on-site surveys with people within the targeted areas, an online survey with 825 responses, a community meeting and 12 stakeholder events with neighborhood groups and various city commissions and committees.
What did we learn? Our main findings were:
- The inventory of all available public and private (privately-owned and dedicated to a specific property) parking spaces in the study area totaled 11,657 parking spaces.
- Demand for parking collectively peaked at 7 p.m. on a weekend in July 2016. At the peak, the average parking occupancy for the study area was 54 percent.
- High-demand areas for parking include on-street facilities west of the railroad tracks, Village Faire parking lot and on-street facilities in the Village center on Grand Avenue, Carlsbad Village Drive, and State Street.
- The parking supply is adequate but parking demand is not “balanced,” meaning parking is not always available where demand for it occurs.
- The current and future parking supply is adequate to meet demand if parking is managed with the strategies recommended in the plan.
The suggested mix of long and short-term strategies include the following:
- Create more parking by converting some red curbs and “curb cuts” that aren’t needed to parking spots. Where possible, parallel parking spaces can be converted to angled spaces to create more parking.
- Enhance enforcement of existing parking time limits, consider changing some time limits and add time limits to commercial areas to encourage “turnover” of parking spaces that improve access to businesses.
- Encourage shared parking arrangements by identifying underutilized private parking lots and making them available for public use during certain times of the day.
- Use the parking in-lieu fee paid by developers to pay for parking management, such as shared parking and improvements that reduce parking demand.
- Make it easier to find parking through an app that shows where available spaces are located.
- Encourage ride sharing with dedicated passenger pick-up/drop-off locations to reduce individual parking needs.
A parking structure was not recommended at this time because parking demand is spread throughout the study area and would instead require a series of smaller parking structures to effectively meet the parking needs. The study also recommends that the city collect and analyze parking data regularly to understand current demand for and utilization of parking and to make timely decisions on how best to manage parking. There will be an opportunity for additional public comment when the plan goes before the City Council in late summer. Once input has been received from the community, Planning Commission and City Council, the plan will be revised as needed.
Findings from the parking management plan will be incorporated into the new draft of the Village and Barrio Master Plan that is currently underway. Separate public review, comment period and hearings will occur with the master plan later this year so you can expect to hear more about the master plan in the coming months.
The draft plan and supporting research documents can be reviewed on the city’s website at carlsbadca.gov/input. Copies of the draft plan are also available for public review at city facilities.
Email your comments to Associate Planner Pam Drew.