A couple days ago, I wrote about parking regulations and the requirements for parking. The primary discussion was about commercial properties whether they are office, retail or restaurant. Today, I want to touch on a topic that is more common-place in how it affects people every day, the low to medium density residential neighborhood.
Like retail, office and restaurants, residential properties are also subject to parking regulations. Occasionally, the parking requirements are based on the size of home or number of bedrooms. More often than not though, the requirements are universal regardless if it involves a 2-bedroom, 1000 square foot home or a 7-bedroom, 5000 square foot home.
Usually parking for residential is a non-issue because today, most conventional suburban housing includes a two-car or three-car garage. However, when we look at existing neighborhoods or in ne0-traditional neighborhoods, it can be a difficult task to come up with the necessary parking. Parking can and should be handled with on-street parking, which is how it is handled for Colorado Springs’ three neo-traditional neighborhoods, Lowell, Spring Creek and Gold Hill Mesa.
On-street parking is an important requirement for pre-WWII neighborhoods and neo-traditional neighborhoods because people always have the desire to park in front of their home, whereas post-WWII neighborhoods predominantly utilize their garages for parking. For conventional suburban developments (or CSD’s), including on-street parking is typically counter-productive. The width of the street becomes so much greater when cars are rarely parked along the street. In fact, in some neighborhoods HOA’s actually prohibit cars from parking on the street. This extra width of the street allows vehicles to travel through the neighborhoods at much greater velocities and endangers the safety of the pedestrian or children playing in front yards. A typical street with in a CSD is around 40-ft in Colorado Springs. This allows for two-12-feet lanes and 8-feet parking areas on each side. This width without parking provides 20-feet for each lane of traffic. This is 167% of the width of a travel lane on an interstate highway (12-ft per lane). If that does not make a parent nervous for their children, not a lot will.
I believe that streets in conventional suburban neighborhoods, provide 28-feet of street width to account for two-10-feet lanes and a single side of on-street parking at 7-feet in width. This will be more than adequate width for traffic to meet and the rare instance that a vehicle parks on the street. In neighborhoods where parking is not allowed on the street,20-feet of pavement is more than adequate.