Shared Parking Agreements

Shared parking agreements are a common tool for property owners to expand their effective parking capacities, when their need is at peak.

Such agreements can be arranged between owners whose parking needs peak at divergent times and/or days of the week. More often, owners whose parking needs are greatest during evenings and weekends seek an agreement with a nearby owner whose parking needs are minimum to non-existent at those times – with the former owner usually not able to offer any meaningful contribution toward meeting the latter’s peak parking needs. A traditional example is a restaurant arranging to use the parking owned by a nearby bank, after 6pm weekdays and all weekend. A more contemporary example might be a brewpub arranging to use the parking at an adjacent co-working business during evenings and weekends. Where only one owner really needs the expanded parking capacity provided by a shared-parking agreement, that party will typically agree to compensate the other owner directly – perhaps by covering any liability insurance cost increases, agreeing to fund physical improvements to, or helping to pay for the maintenance of, the shared facility, or similar.


Essentially, a shared parking facility is a supply of publicly or privately-owned off-street parking that provides access to two or more land uses or activities, as opposed to exclusively dedicated parking as an accessory to a single use.

Shared parking is crucial to creating a vibrant, multimodal downtown. Different land uses have different peak parking demands. Allowing a daytime office building, for example, to share its parking at night with the nearby restaurant allows less parking to be built than if the restaurant had to construct its own parking. The outcome is less land dedicated to parking.


Private owners have an opportunity to monetize their off-hour parking capacities. Owners can set public hours, determine parking rates, and maintain their current lot-enforcement approach under sharing agreements. Mobile-payment vendors can provide signage, with pricing and lot identification for payments, and facilitate payment and revenue flows back to lot owners. See the “Monetizing Excess Capacity” tool for more inform on this concept.

Difficulty

$-$$$

Cost

Impact

Key Benefits

  • Reduces supply needs through efficiency gains by maximizing the use of existing parking facilities

  • Supports the viability of businesses who cannot meet their peak parking needs on site

  • Provides cost savings to developers by allowing them to meet their needs or requirements with less on-site parking

  • Allows property owners to recognize significantly more return per space on their investment

  • Supports infill development

  • Facilitates more walkable, safe, and active downtowns, and ensure more efficient use of public dollars

Case Studies

 NATIONAL 

 REGIONAL 

WMATA Station Parking

Washington, DC

The Rhode Island Row TOD is in the District’s Brentwood neighborhood, characterized by household incomes and population densities significantly below District averages. Developed on a surface parking lot operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to accommodate park-and-ride access to its Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood Metrorail station. WMATA agreed to reduce Metro parking by 50 percent, but this brought opposition from neighborhood residents concerned that displaced commuters would park on surrounding neighborhood streets, consuming parking needed by residents and businesses. This led to an agreement to fully replace the commuter parking spaces, while managing restrictions to reserve these spaces for daily commuters and residents during evenings and overnight. This proved a shared-parking concept that has become a model for TOD in the region – one that reduces the overall parking supply provided on TOD sites, while fully accommodating the parking needs of transit riders and residents.

Shared Parking Agreements

McKinney, TX

Shared parking spaces may be allowed under specific circumstances in McKinney, but the City of McKinney has taken initiative on valuing and implementing the concept. In the Development Code for the McKinney Town Center, shared parking is listed as a “public benefit” under the list of criteria by which the Planning and Zoning Commission may consider proposed developments seeking exceptions from other site development standards. In 2017, the City signed a long-term lease agreement with a downtown-adjacent church, opening a church-owned parking lot for public use. Public parking is permitted all but Sunday mornings when church service is held. The agreement has been successful, putting the lot to better use by serving downtown and individual-use parking demands. Prior to the shared parking agreement, the lot remained empty except for Sunday mornings. The City entered a second agreement around the same time with a nearby landowner to lease an additional previously underutilized lot and provide a near-term solution to a parking management problem.

Implementation Considerations

Role of Public Sector

  • Legalizes shared parking agreements, which some zoning codes prohibit for spaces provided to meet minimum parking requirements

  • Brokers shared parking agreements between property owners to share parking resources (as necessary)

  • Provides technical assistance and shares example agreements to private partners

Role of Private Sector

  • Facilitates relationships with neighboring land owners and third parties

  • Helps public sector confirm key challenges and issues towards a shared agreement

Timing

  • Agreements can be between established property owners, or between an established property owner and a developer