Technology Transfer Newsletter
Volume 22, Number 4 - December 2005

Connecticut Transportation Institute's Technology Transfer Center
University of Connecticut, School of Engineering

Article Title: Parking: How Much Is Enough•

Article Text:
by Norman W. Garrick and Wesley E. Marshall

Parking and the provision of parking is an often overlooked aspect of the transportation system. But parking plays a key role in the economic and social vitality of Connecticut cities, towns and commercial centers. The extent to which most towns address this issue is by ensuring that their zoning regulations mandate that an ample supply of parking accompanies any new development. There are sound reasons for this approach: the towns want to ensure that shoppers are not discouraged by a lack of parking and that spillover parking does not inundate neighborhoods. But when is enough parking too much of a good thing• In fact, can there be such a thing as too much parking•

A growing number of cities and towns around the country are answering yes to this last question. They are beginning to recognize that too much parking can be as bad as too little and are taking steps to regulate the demand and the supply of parking. Some cities now mandate a parking maximum and not a minimum as is the norm. They point out that the detrimental effects of too much parking are insidious and hard to measure but they are nonetheless quite real.

Clearly too much parking wastes land and carries with it a sizable economic penalty, especially in terms of wasted opportunities. But more importantly, too much parking often saps the vitality of an area by creating large dead zones where people do not want to be. There is also a growing recognition that it is not just the amount of parking that is important. How it is arranged relative to the buildings, who owns it, and how it is operated, are all factors that affect the extent to which parking will have a positive or adverse effect on the surrounding land uses.

In order to get a better handle on some of these issues, in 2003 we started a two year long study of parking at six centers around New England . Our primary goal was to compare parking at mixed-use, walkable commercial centers to that at centers with more conventional development patterns. Since it was difficult to identify enough mixed-use centers of the appropriate size in Connecticut , we ended up selecting only one Connecticut site, West Hartford Center , and two from out of state, the downtown areas of Northampton and Brattleboro . The three conventional sites that were used as controls were Avon Center , Glastonbury Center , and Somerset Square in Glastonbury .

The three study sites, Brattleboro , Northampton , and West Hartford Center are all compact, mixed-use districts with significant amounts of retail, entertainment, commercial and residential uses within the boundary of the site. Most of the parking at all three sites is owned and operated by the municipalities, which charge for parking in their facilities. The three study sites are also surrounded by residential districts and are connected to these districts by a dense network of streets with very good pedestrian facilities. Therefore, there is the potential for people from these surrounding districts to access these centers on foot or by bicycle.

In contrast, the three control sites, Avon Center , Glastonbury Center , and Somerset Square are generally less compact and more homogenous in terms of use. For example, Somerset Square has retail, entertainment and commercial uses but each use is generally set apart in its own individual pod, separated by areas of parking. Most of the parking at these three sites is owned by individual businesses and is provided free of charge. The two sites in Glastonbury are adjacent to fairly dense residential districts, but the pedestrian and bicycle connections to the sites from the surrounding districts are not very good ( Glastonbury Center is better than Somerset Square ). Avon Center is located in a very low-density suburban context with little viable pedestrian access. One final and interesting distinction between the study sites and the control sites is than all three study sites had significant numbers of on-street parking spaces, while the control sites had little or none.

The results of our analysis show that the study sites use much less parking and use the parking more efficiently than did the control sites. On average, we found that the peak parking use (generally during the holiday shopping period) at the control sites was about 2.3 spaces per 1000 sq. ft. of building square footage. The mixed-use study site required only 1.8 spaces per 1000 sq. ft. or about 24% less than the convention sites. This lower demand for parking is noteworthy when one considers the fact that the study sites were much more vibrant in terms of the number of people actually on site. The main factor accounting for this difference was the large number of people that access the mixed-use study site by foot, bicycle, and public transit.

In terms of efficiency of use, less than 50% of the parking spaces at the control sites were filled during the peak shopping period, versus 80% occupancy at the mixed-use study sites. In other words, the amount of parking provided at the control sites was more than twice that required even during the peak shopping period. This is a tremendous waste of land and is also environmentally unsound, as it means that a significant amount of unnecessary impervious surface is to be found at these developments. This amount of unused parking also serves to dampen the vibrancy of urban centers?it is essentially a double whammy, since parking itself is a negative in terms of attracting human activity and, at the same time, parking takes up land that could be put to more productive use.

The study sites have a few advantages, which allow them to operate smoothly at a much higher occupancy level. One important difference is that the study sites have paid municipal lots and garages that serve the whole center and not individual businesses. This consolidation of parking affords a great deal of efficiency. For example, we found through surveys that the mixed-use study sites were ?park once' districts. People come to the area, park, and then patronize a number of businesses in the center. In contrast, most people at the conventional sites drive from one business to another at the center and thus end up using multiple parking spaces for each visit?this is a very inefficient use of parking.

There are a number of reasons why the mixed-use sites are ?park once• districts. For one, the act of paying for parking cut down on the tendency to move the car once a person is in the district. These mixed-use districts are also much easier to walk in and provide a more pleasant and more interesting environment. Conversely, the conventional sites tend to have disconnected pedestrian paths and a generally unpleasant walking environment, since people would typically have to walk through parking lots to get from one type of business to another.

The study sites are much more heterogeneous in terms of the mix of land use. Since each category of business has a different demand cycle over the course of the day, parking is used much more efficiently. For example, in West Hartford , the consolidated parking is in demand constantly from early morning to well into the night with the type of users changing from shoppers in the day to diners at night. In contrast, at Somerset Square , where each lot is dedicated to a specific type of business, some lots are full during the day but empty in the evenings, while others have the opposite pattern. The end result is that many more spaces are needed to serve a given level of activity, and there are a large number of spaces that are used for just few hours each day • a very wasteful use of land, an increasingly scarce commodity.

Surprisingly, in spite of the differences in parking use at the six sites, the parking regulations for the five towns that host these sites all mandate about the same level of parking in their zoning regulations. The average requirement is about 5.5 spaces per 1000 sq. ft. of floor area. This is more than 2.5 times the amount of parking that is actually used even during peak shopping time. This is indicative of the overly cautious approach that Connecticut cities have adopted in providing for parking. Other studies have shown the same results?Connecticut towns are demanding far too much parking, thus wasting land, increasing development costs, deadening our urban centers, discouraging walking and riding, and adding to the runoff into our streams and rivers.

Based on this study we suggest the following strategies for reducing the negative impact of parking:

Reduce Minimum Parking Requirements : Most towns in the state have very conservative minimum parking requirements. The towns in our study mandate 2.5 times the amount of parking than is actually used during peak shopping time. This suggests that most towns could significantly reduce the minimum parking requirements without any noticeable adverse effect. Most developments could get by with less than 3 spaces per square foot of building, depending on the level of activity expected. Even at this lower level, peak occupancy would still be only about 80%.

Encourage Connected, Mixed-Use Development : Our study suggests that mixed-use centers use fewer parking spaces and use the parking provided much more efficiently. We stress the point that these mixed-use places must be connected by walkable streets to residential areas in order to accrue the full advantage in terms of reducing parking demand. In Connecticut , we are beginning to see the development of ?life style' centers, such as Evergreen Walk in South Windsor , which are ostensibly mixed-use centers. The problem is that these centers are still isolated from the rest of the community and cannot be accessed without a car. Places like Evergreen Walk are unlikely to see reduced parking demand, but will use the parking provided more efficiently because of the mix of businesses sharing the same lot.

Re-instigate On-street Parking : Our study showed that on-street parking was the most valued by customers and often the most convenient. In addition, on-street parking cuts down on the size of the off-street lot that is needed, thus reducing the amount of impervious surface. However, in the interest of efficient traffic flow, many towns have eliminated on-street parking and do not provide on-street parking in new development. On-street parking brings other benefits in that it serves a traffic calming function, making a town center feel safer to pedestrians and more like a real center to drivers and pedestrians alike. On-street parking clearly delineates the street as a place rather than just somewhere to pass through.

Consider Shared Municipal Lots : Our study suggests that effectively run municipal parking systems provide many advantages in a commercial center. Lots shared between different types of businesses are used much more efficiently and do not have as many hours where they sit empty. In addition, consolidated municipal parking promotes a ?park once' mindset, which benefits all the businesses in a center. Finally, the parking revenue from municipal parking systems can be used to landscape, beautify and maintain the streets and other public realms of the center. The issue of charging for parking is a contentious one, but our study and others suggest that customers are not resistant to paying a reasonable rate for parking.

Few cities and towns in Connecticut have a comprehensive plan for the provision of parking in their commercial centers. However, we believe many town centers in Connecticut could benefit immeasurably from having a considered and coordinated approach to managing parking demand. The current system of oversupplying parking appears to be wasteful of land and resources, is environmentally unsound, and dampens the economic and social vitality of commercial centers. The good news is that our study shows that relatively small changes (such as improving pedestrian connections) can go a long way in reducing the amount of resources that are devoted to parking and in creating more vibrant centers in our cities and towns.

For additional information, please contact the authors:

Norman W. Garrick, Ph.D. Associate Professor
Connecticut Transportation Institute
Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Connecticut

Wesley E. Marshall, P.E.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Connecticut


Article Title: Congratulations Graduates of 2005!

Article Text:

On September 22, the Technology Transfer Center awarded certificates to thirty-nine individuals who completed the requirements of our Road Master, Road Scholar, and Legal Traffic Authority programs during the preceding year.

Guest speakers Ernest Blais, FHWA Assistant Division Administrator, Patrick Rodgers, ConnDOT Transportation Maintenance Manager, and Thomas Hozebin, CONN-OSHA Program Manager joined Center Director, Donna Shea, in honoring the graduates for their dedication and commitment to continue their professional learning experiences.


Harold ?Hank• Anderson Town of Enfield

Robert Barlow Town of West Hartford

Adam Boone CT Department of Transportation

Richard Christensen City of New Haven

Stephen Doyon Town of Farmington

Donald Foyer, Jr. Town of Orange

Scott Gauthier Town of Avon

Drew Glaser Town of Ridgefield

Dennis Gomez Town of Winchester

Mark Hallenbeck Town of West Hartford

Charles Hamel, Jr. Town of West Hartford

Douglas Hunt CT Department of Transportation

Robert Hunt Town of South Windsor

Arnold Knittel City of Stamford

Paul Kubica Town of West Hartford

Larry Lambert Town of West Hartford

Douglas Laperle CT Department of Transportation

George Lindley Town of Avon

Steven Little Town of West Hartford

Tiger Mann Town of New Canaan

Steven Merrill Town of Farmington

Kirk Montstream Town of Windsor Locks

Ed Morrison CT Department of Transportation

Terence Phelan CT Department of Transportation

Michael Piscioneri City of Derby

Louis Sanchez City of New Haven

Christopher Smith Town of West Hartford

Edward Smith Consumers Union

William Standish Town of Hebron

David Stec City of Derby

Thomas Stula Town of Colchester

Anthony Taccone Town of Darien

Scott Tharau Town of Burlington

Richard Utera Town of New Milford

Robert Waldner CT Department of Transportation

James Warner Consulting Engineer

Shawn Wathley Town of New Milford

Paul Williamson CT Department of Transportation


Warren Connors Town of Woodbridge


Salvatore Tassone Town of Colchester

For more information on the Connecticut Technology Transfer Center 's professional learning programs, visit:



Article Title:
Training: ConnDOT Recognized for Excellence in Winter Materials Storage

Article Text:

Four Connecticut Department of Transportation facilities were among ten facilities throughout Canada and the U.S. that earned the 2005 Salt Institute's Excellence in Storage Award recognizing high standards of environmental consciousness and effective management of winter materials storage:

• East Lyme Salt Storage Facility

• Plainfield Satellite Storage Facility

• Putnam Salt Storage Facility

• Westbrook Satellite Salt Storage Facility

Another six ConnDOT facilities were cited for ?continuing excellence• for sustaining award-winning programs:

• Glastonbury Maintenance Facility

• Willington Maintenance Facility

• Middletown Salt Storage Facility

• Hebron Salt Shed

• Route 71A Salt Shed, Meriden

• Miller Avenue Facility, Meriden

The Excellence in Storage Award is part of the Salt Institute's Sensible Salting Program?an educational program for salt customers on how to store and apply salt in an environ-mentally sound manner. Over the competition's 17 years, ConnDOT facili-ties have won the annual excellence designation 26 times.

For more information on about the Excellence in Storage Award, visit the Salt Institute web site at:


Article Title: Thomaston and Woodstock First Winners in Creative Solutions Award Program

Article Text:

The Technology Transfer Center is pleased to announce that the towns of Thomaston and Woodstock won awards in our first annual Creative Solutions Award Program. The program was created this year to recognize and share innovations designed by municipalities to solve local transportation related problems. 

Thomaston's Under Guiderail Material Pusher

To combat the problem of sand and other debris collecting under roadway guiderails, the Town of Thomaston created a device that is used to push out excess material that accumulates underneath in order to regain proper grade and maintain the efficiency of the guiderail. The device is designed to fit beneath the bottom cable and between existing posts when mounted to a skid steer. Using the device results in safer guiderails, fewer man hours, and eliminates the need for weed control under the guiderail.

Woodstock 's Catch Basin Top Removal Sling

The Town of Woodstock was given the award for creating a sling device that lifts the top off of a catch basin using two fitted steel braces connected by chains to a backhoe or loader. Once the grate is removed, the sling is lowered into the basin and the top rests on the braces as it is lifted up and off. The sling makes removal much easier than excavating around the exterior rim, requires less manpower, and does not disrupt the surrounding pavement.

The solutions submitted by the municipalities were examined by a panel of five judges, and scored based on their safety, cost-savings, inventive-ness, transportability, and effectiveness.

Paul Pronovost and John DalNegro III from Thomaston and Dwight Ryniewicz and Porter Elliot of Woodstock were presented their awards on September 22 at the Technology Transfer Center 's annual graduation ceremony.

The Technology Transfer Center is accepting applications from Connecticut municipalities for next year's awards until June 1, 2006. For more on the Creative Solutions Award Program, visit


Article Title: Be Reasonable...Do It MY Way

Article Text:
by David Grouchy, Grouchy Enterprises

What do you think of people who disagree with you• Do you think they are disloyal, honest• How do you deal with them•

Constant Nay Sayers: These people don't care what you say. They are against it. If you agree with them, they will change their mind. Their concept of critical skills is to criticize everything you do. Sometimes, they will even tell you, but most of the time they tell their co-workers, that you don't know what you're talking about.

The Loyal Opposition: These people really do want things to improve. The way for that to happen is for you to be reasonable and do things their way.

Snipers: They never confront your decisions, but they criticize your actions, your dress, and your methods of speaking. They shoot at you from a distance and when your back is turned.

Handling these problems:

• Build trust. The best teams may not agree with the one making the decisions, but will work hard to make the boss's decisions work.

• Make sure you include everybody in decision-making, not just the people who agree with you.

• Remind your employees that you are a team with a goal and that each member of the team is important.

• Ask for feedback. ?Is this a good idea• What do you think• You're going to have to live with it, so if you think I'm making a bad decision, tell me now.•

• Tell your employees and superiors, ?If you have criticism of my decisions, tell me and maybe we can find a solution. Talk to me, not about me. If I don't know the problem, how can I fix it?•

• Explain to all your employees that an important part of your job is making decisions and that not everyone is going to like every decision.

• Demand adult behavior. Treat your people with respect and demand respect and honesty in return.

As a supervisor, you will have to make some unpopular decisions. By using the techniques listed above you will have more support from your employees, make better decisions and help everyone feel more like a member of the team.


Article Title: "By the Way..."

Article Text:
by Donna Shea, Program Director

In an effort to help our local agencies prepare for Winter 2006, the T2 Center offered it's first Road Scholar winter operations roundtable discussion ?Lessons Learned from Winter 2005.• We also held two full-day Road Master trainings that addressed effective snow and ice operations, including safe handling of snow plows.

The roundtable discussion brought together 35 representatives from Connecticut 's local and state agencies and resulted in a great opportunity for networking and sharing of information on topics ranging from deicing applications to combatting fatigue among your employees during those long storms.

We have posted a series of resources relating to winter operations on our web site, including a summary of the items discussed during the roundtable. To visit our new Winter Operations Resources page, go to:

We hope these training opportunities and resources will give you a head start in preparing for what we hope will be a very mild winter (just a little wishful thinking).

We have many valuable trainings planned for you during 2006, please keep our web site address handy because we continually update our workshop calendar. You can see our workshop calendar and comprehensive information on all of our Technology Transfer Services at

From all of us at the Technology Transfer Center , we wish you Happy Holidays and a safe and prosperous New Year.

Donna, Mary and Stephanie

"Technology Transfer" is published by the Connecticut Transportation Institute's Technology Transfer Center, Phone (860) 486-5400, Fax (860) 486-2399. Supported through a cooperative effort of the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration's Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) to provide information on the latest transportation technology to Connecticut's state and local government officials.

Director: Donna Shea (
Workshop Coordinator: Mary McCarthy (
Information Services Coordinator/Editor: Stephanie Merrall (

End of "Technology Transfer" Newsletter - Volume 22, Number 4, December 2005



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