Parking lots where there is space for them – planning a sustainable parking policy with the residents
Modern parking policies focus on the optimal use of existing parking spaces while introducing measures that also encourage other forms of mobility. The new parking regimes, which allow residents, employees, and visitors to access key services by car but do not encourage long-term parking, want to convince people that it is not always possible or necessary to drive everywhere. Such measures reduce the need for parking and traffic areas in cities which can be used for other quality and interesting content. Since reducing parking spaces can cause an uproar in the community, it is important that residents understand and accept the reasons for parking restrictions. Any transport and parking strategy must, therefore, provide sufficient support measures that offer an alternative to the car, such as a network of pedestrian and bicycle connections, public transport, and the possibility of car sharing.
In 2017, the Municipality of Idrija adopted the Integrated Transport Strategy (ITS), which promotes sustainable mobility and designing public areas tailored to people, not cars. We prepared an analysis of the parking situation in Idrija and guidelines for the regulation of stationary traffic, based on public discussions with residents.
The analysis of the situation focused on the characteristics of parking in Idrija – that is, which parking lots are more occupied, which are less, when and who parks on them, and whether there are really too few parking lots. We used the parking beat method, where on the selected day the enumerators go around the selected parking lots several times, every hour or two. The method determines the extent of occupancy of parking areas as well as the structure of users (residents, employees, visitors) according to the time of occupancy of parking spaces.
We found that only a few parking lots in Idrija are fully occupied. At the same time, parking lots located near important services are mostly occupied by vehicles that park there for several hours, preventing residents from quick access to the services. Based on these findings, we prepared various scenarios for traffic and parking arrangements, which we also coordinated with the public in several public hearings. Residents have chosen a scenario in which the number of parking lots remains the same, but a new parking regime is developed and conditions for cycling and walking and public transport within Idrija are improved. The Municipality of Idrija unanimously approved the selected scenario in July 2018.