7:00 PM Continuation of Presentation of Downtown Parking Study
Jeffery Dirk, Vanasse and Associates
Present: Planning Board Members, Sarah Corey, Chair, Judy Sneath, Clerk, Paul Healey, Susan
Murphy, and Gary Tondorf-Dick. Also present was Planner Katharine Lacy.
RE: Continuation of Presentation of Downtown Parking Study, Jeffery Dirk, Vanasse and Associates
Jeffery Dirk of Vanasse Associates had been hired by the Planning Board to conduct a parking study for Downtown Hingham, with the goal of clarifying and rationalizing how parking waivers are granted. Mr. Dirk described the work done to date. The project boundaries included all of the area in the Downtown Overlay District, the underlying zoning of which is Business A. For the purposes of the project, the consultants broke the area into three distinct zones: one including the Fruit Center and businesses on 3A; one extending from Water Street to approximately North and Station Street and including the Station Street parking lot, and a third consisting of the area known as the Square, including all of Business A from Ship Street to Lafayette Street, and up to Elm Street to the South. Initially the consultants conducted a comprehensive inventory of all on and off-street parking spaces in each zone.
This was followed by an assessment of parking demand based on actual counts of on and off-street parking at one-hour intervals for the four-hour period on weekdays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM; and also on a Saturday evening from 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM. Using information collected in the field, and provided by the Town, the consultant also created a model showing exactly how much square footage of each different land use (retail, office, restaurant, etc.) existed in each zone. This information was multiplied by a series of variables including monthly, peak hour, “non-captive” and mode adjustments, to come up with projected parking demand. The projected demand was tested against the actual demand to ensure that it was accurate, and then compared to the “unadjusted” demand (per zoning) to identify a Shared Parking Factor. In general, the shared parking factor (which compares the amount of parking required per zoning to the actual demand) was approximately 50-55%.
The purpose of the model is to allow the Board to better assess a proposed change of use or expansion to determine the true impact on downtown parking. Board members discussed how this information could best be used to clarify and improve the off-street parking requirements in Business A. Currently, because the downtown area pre-dates zoning and automobiles, there is a huge disparity between the amount of off-street parking required when compared to the amount available. This has lead to a complex process of grandfathering and waiving parking requirements that can seem capricious to the uninitiated. Mr. Dirk advised against an outright modification in off-street parking requirements downtown, but instead recommended that this information be used to clarify the process for granting parking waivers through the establishment of more detailed findings that must be met for a waiver to be granted.
Mr. Dirk noted that the Board would receive a complete report showing all of the information collected, as well as an Excel spreadsheet including the actual model that the Board can use.
It was moved, seconded and SO VOTED, unanimously, by those present to accept the minutes of December 3 and December 8, 2008.
The Meeting was adjourned at 9:20 PM