Parking/Loading Areas Management

Parking/Loading Areas Management

In many city centers and business districts, parking spaces are very limited, which translates into trucks double-parking or spending considerable time circling a block waiting for a parking space (Jaller et al. 2012), and trucks extending into sidewalks and roadways while docking in undersized loading areas. This is not only an enforcement issue. Frequently, the number of parking spaces available is simply not enough to satisfy the needs of delivery trucks. On Manhattan Island in New York City, for example, there are 10 zip codes where the demand for parking from delivery trucks exceeds the linear capacity of the streets to accommodate them (Jaller et al. 2012). As a result, carriers are forced to double park and pay large amounts in parking fines. In New York City, carriers typically pay between $500 and $1,000 per truck per month in parking fines (Holguín-Veras et al. 2007; Holguín-Veras et al. 2008b). Furthermore,  because the parking spaces are also available to other commercial vehicles, such as limos and service vehicles, the amount of net parking available to freight vehicles reduces. Although service trips are considered commercial, and refer to those trips in which the main purpose is to carry out a service activity at the premises, they do not share the same parking requirements as their freight counterparts. Service trips involve services such as maintenance, repair, document shredding, cleaning, and installations, among others. Because the amount of cargo or equipment that needs to be carried may be minimal, these trips do not necessarily need to park close to their destinations. In general, service trips also require longer service times making for longer use of the curb space for prolonged periods of time which prevents access for freight vehicles to conduct loading and unloading activities.

On-Street Parking and Loading

Roadways in dense cities or old inner-city areas are not designed to handle large traffic volumes and the on-street parking generated. Appropriate curb allocation is essential to reduce congestion and improve environmental conditions(Nourinejad et al. 2013). The main challenge is that the demand for curb space exceeds capacity because cars, buses, and freight vehicles all need access to the curb. From a strictly economic point of view, however, freight vehicles and buses should have first priority for curb space. Freight vehicles need to park close to their customers, as the cost of walking freight from truck to customers is very high; parking further away reduces the size of the loads drivers carry, all of which increases delivery and parking times. Moreover, freight vehicles produce more congestion than smaller passenger cars do, so it makes sense to get them off the roads. Similarly, fostering transit use requires that bus stops be strategically placed in high-demand locations, and that single-occupant vehicle use be discouraged by making it less convenient. Obviously however, political reasons may argue for exactly the opposite. The initiatives presented in this subsection deal with on-street parking and loading in a variety of ways.

Initiative 7: Freight Parking and Loading Zones
These programs focus on allocating curb space for parking and loading activities. In San Francisco, proposals have been made to widen sidewalks and designate (using textured pavement) shared use of the sidewalk for parking/loading activities. In Washington D.C. a curbside freight study has recommended providing longer parking/loading spaces, multi-space meters, and the pricing of loading zones (Jones et al. 2009). Other recommendations are to increase the sizes of loading zones to 100 feet where possible, and to move them to the end of the block.
Increasing the capacity of parking and loading areas is an obvious and low-cost way to reduce congestion and improve traffic. This was the chief finding of Nourinejad et al. (2013) in a traffic simulation study that assessed the impacts of alternative freight parking strategies. The New York City Department of Transportation (New York City DOT) increased the parking allocation for commercial vehicles and installed parking meters (New York City Department of Transportation 2012b; New York City 2012c). The freight industry has reacted very positively to the new policy, as it has made it easier for them to do their job. Implementation of this initiative is presented as part of Case Studies 5 and 6 from New York City, described in Section 3. Other interesting alternatives that involve managing parking spaces include Green Loading Zones (New York State Department of Transportation 2014), which are discussed in Initiative 33.
Initiative 8: Loading and Parking Restrictions
Parking and loading restrictions of various forms have been implemented in metropolitan areas in the United States and Europe. The city of San Francisco has a multi-layer parking policy with “commercial yellow zones,” restrictions at “passenger white zones,” and commercial parking restrictions in residential zones. Special truck-only loading zones are restricted to special freight vehicles. Other restrictions include time-of-day restrictions for parking, accommodating delivery trucks in “shared” or “flex” spaces, and creating and managing on-street loading bays (San Francisco County Transportation Authority 2009). New York City added loading bays and implemented a graduated rate structure: $2 for 1 hour, $5 for 2 hours, and $9 for 3 hours of parking (New York City Department of Transportation 2012). Other initiatives that manage curb space by allocating specific time slots for delivery operations have been successfully implemented, such as the New York City DOT Delivery Windows program (New York City Department of Transportation 2009). The implementation of this initiative is presented as part of Case Studies 5 and 6 from New York City, described in Section 3.
Initiative 9: Peak-Hour Clearways
Peak-hour clearways are streets with prohibitions for curbside parking or stopping during peak-hours. Clearways facilitate the movement of all vehicles by increasing the capacity of the road, though they also affect the ability of carriers to service premises along the clearway, and can be inconvenient to businesses and residents wanting to access those businesses during peak hours (Ogden 1992). In London, England, part of the Red Route network is made up of clearways, where stopping is permitted only at designated locations(SUGAR 2011).
Initiative 10: Vehicle Parking Reservation Systems
Vehicle parking reservation systems make it possible for drivers to reserve curbside parking space. The program requires stakeholder coordination, as well as strict enforcement. Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) usually are needed to help with the allocation and use of parking spots. In Toyota City, Japan, a pilot test allowed truckers to reserve parking spaces using cell phones. The parking area was remotely monitored using cameras. The pilot was deemed a success because it led to a 56% reduction of parked vehicles on the street for loading/unloading(PIARC 2012). However, no information is available about any research that investigated the potential or unintended consequences of this program, such as increased congestion due to other vehicles without access to the system circling around searching for a parking spot.

Off-Street Parking and Loading

These initiatives address parking in areas other than on-the-streets. 

Initiative 11: Enhanced Building Codes
Many city buildings were not designed to handle current truck sizes and freight traffic volumes (Department for Transport 2010b). Building codes and regulations are needed that can ensure new buildings have adequate loading docks to meet future demands (Wilbur Smith Associates 2012). However, such codes and regulations will require changes to existing regulations, such as those in New York City that limit the number of off-street parking spaces provided by new developments(New York City Department of City Planning 2011).
Initiative 12: Timesharing of Parking Spaces
By recommending that off-street parking structures schedule shared use of parking spaces among various users, this initiative complements on-street parking policies. Scheduling use of parking spaces during certain times of the day allows the spaces to be shared among trucks and commercial and private vehicles (PIARC 2011).
Initiative 13: Upgrade Parking Areas and Loading Docks
Shopping malls and large stores in central business districts have limited space for maneuvering, and often have insufficient or outdated loading docks. This initiative recommends redesigning docks to accommodate the geometric needs of current and future trucks. It also recommends adequate setbacks from roadways so that trucks do not extend into roadways when docking (Wilbur Smith Associates 2012). Access to and egress from these areas also is important, as distance away from intersections facilitates traffic maneuvers and minimizes traffic impacts. Truck access should be separate from car and pedestrian access for operational, aesthetic, and security reasons (Ogden 1992).
Initiative 14: Improved Staging Areas

A lack of parking, curb space, and/or loading facilities at establishments receiving freight, may require governmental agencies or planning organizations to mandate the use of staging areas. Such requirements should foster the development or implementation of on-site and off-street areas at businesses or facilities that regularly receive freight. However, there are locations where this may not be a feasible option; thus, the establishment of common loading areas for sites that are large traffic generators or for other multi-tenant facilities may be a viable option (Federal Highway Administration 2012b). Alternatively, municipalities might foster the development of nearby delivery or staging areas that could serve as urban transshipment platforms. These areas could be implemented at public or private parking lots, empty lots, or other spaces that could accommodate a number of freight vehicles to conduct loading and unloading activities. At these staging areas, cargo could be unloaded from the freight vehicles and loaded to trolleys, carts, or other vehicles for last mile distribution. In Bordeaux, France, nearby delivery areas have been established together with additional services such as dedicated personnel to assist in the dispatching of shipments. These areas can accommodate between three to five freight vehicles (about 30 meters wide) (BESTUFS 2007). The challenge involved in establishing these areas is securing the necessary space. The staging area design also needs to take into consideration possible conflicts with nearby residents.

Initiative 15: Truck Stops/ Parking Outside of Metropolitan Areas

This initiative is similar to the use of truck stops, rest areas, or parking facilities on highways, or other pieces of infrastructure. These facilities are designed and provided so that drivers can take mandatory or optional breaks to rest. The success of the facilities depends on their location, capacity, and other characteristics, such as availability of food, communication services, and other service facilities (New York Metropolitan Transportation Council 2009). The urban freight system also could benefit if similar facilities were constructed or allocated for freight vehicles on the fringes of metropolitan areas. Instead of being used as rest areas, these facilities would be available for vehicles to wait for their delivery times without obstructing the curbside or double-parking inside the metro area. The facilities could also be used as temporary staging or consolidation areas, where transshipments could be made without the need for urban consolidation centers (UCCs). In addition, such truck stops could be used by freight vehicles as parking locations to avoid peak hours for vehicles participating in programs such as off-hour deliveries (OHD).

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