Pages

10 July 2007

Parking Clarifications

I somehow find myself looking through some city's municipal code once a month. So I wanted to see what Gus Morrison's parking concerns were based on. Sure enough, there's plenty to consider. Fremont's Municipal Code, Title VIII, Chapter 2, Article 20, Section 8, has the details:

  • Sec. 8-22003. Required parking spaces by type of use.
    (b) Business uses.
    (1) Entertainment and recreation:
    a. Theaters, auditoriums and sports arenas or stadia, including school auditoriums and stadia--For all fixed seating capacity, one for each four seats; theaters in shopping centers, one per three and one-half seats.
  • Sec. 8-22005. Location of required parking and loading facilities.
    (a) The off-street parking facilities required for the uses mentioned in section 8-22003 and for other similar uses pursuant to section 22011, shall be on the same lot as the structure or use they are intended to serve. When practical difficulties, as determined by zoning administrator, prevent their establishment upon the same or immediately adjacent lot, they may be located within 400 feet of the premises to which the parking requirement pertains, provided such parking area meets all other requirements of this Code.
  • Sec. 8-22014. Assessment districts for parking.
    (a) Exemptions. Whenever, pursuant to statute, public off-street parking facilities are established by means of a special assessment district, or by any other means which the city council may determine, all existing buildings and uses, and all buildings erected or uses established thereafter within the special assessment district, or other district which the city council may have determined, shall be exempt from the requirements of this article for privately supplied off-street parking facilities except as hereinafter provided.
Okay, so let's interpret. For a 32,000-seat facility, Section 8-22003 dictates that 8,000 spaces would be required based on the 4:1 ratio. Section 8-22005 requires that if the parking isn't in the same lot or adjacent (no on both counts), it needs to be within 400 feet. The Brandin Ct. lots and Christy Concrete plant are both at least 700 feet from the nearest gate.

It would appear that code almost mandates that the ballpark be built "in a sea of parking" so to speak, since the distance requirement could be highly restrictive. I haven't checked ADA regulations, but those will certainly come into play as well. We know that the sea of parking is not feasible given the village concept and housing needs, so there has to be more to it than that. Given the ballpark's schedule of events, parking will be needed 90+ days per year, or 1/4 of the year. Should that much parking be required for such a limited schedule? And how can it be beneficial to other users such as non-resident village patrons?

There's even one more detail that shouldn't be ignored. The concrete plant is shown as a 16.3-acre parcel, but only 10.3 acres may be usable due to the existence of a pond on that site. It's possible that the pond may not be developed because it's a habitat for migratory birds. These are wetlands, after all. Reduction of the site to 10.3 acres would reduce available land for parking, further pressing the need for a garage or the acquisition of additional nearby property, or both.

But
as I wrote previously, the map shouldn't be taken anything resembling a proposal or final plan. The devil truly is in the details.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

ML, How many Level of Parking garage, if they decide not to build Parking across Auto Mall?

Marine Layer said...

4 or 5 is my guess. I doubt that will happen since they already own the land on Albrae St across Auto Mall. I'd rather they get 4000-5000 spaces in the immediate area then utilize "remote" lots.

Once you remove the public transit portion of the Giants fanbase, it's a similar amount of cars at China Basin. The difference is that the Giants have SoMa's built in parking capacity in the neighborhood, whereas the A's would have to provide something similar within the village. Which they can do. The concern has to come from existing Pacific Commons stores like Lowe's and Costco, for whom paid parking is a foreign concept. The village would force some kind of parking controls for their lots.

Anonymous said...

ML, any thought of traffic and Transit?

SexFlavoredPez said...

ML,

First of all, thanks for clarifying the parking issues being raised. Second, as for the paid parking in the nearby lots at PacCom, couldnt they simply build a muilti-level garage like they have in downtown San Jose with a similar time-based system? In other words, on days (and hours?) the ballpark is non-operational, parking would be free for consumers of the PacCom buisinesses. I'm sure this would be a hard sell to those retailers though.

James said...

My reading of sec. 8-22014 gives the city council the authority to to exempt Wolff from the mandated parking requirements. I don't know what the code refers to as a "special assessment district," but even if Pacific Commons doesn't qualify as such, the exemption says ... "or other district which the city council may have determined, shall be exempt from the requirements of this article for privately supplied off-street parking facilities except as hereinafter provided."

Even if the city council doesn't have the authority to vacate the parking requirements, the code says that parking may be located "within 400 feet of the premises" (i.e., it doesn't say it has to be within 400 feet of an entrance to the stadium.) My interpretation is that if a corner of the parking structure is within 400 feet of a corner of the land upon which the stadium sits, Wolff is fine.

Notwithstanding the above, I believe the city council has great latitude to issue a variance.

Marine Layer said...

Can't really talk traffic until a proposal is out there. They'll base a traffic study on the proposal.

It's not so much about the garage as it is the free parking nearby. If it isn't regulated it will be overrun as the Coliseum BART lots are during games. The nearby retailers need protection from that. A validation system can work, but there would be a cost associated with enforcing it.

PacCom sits inside one gigantic special assessment district. I would be wary of interpreting anything as favorable to the A's. Sure, the wording is vague especially when applied to a project this large, but that doesn't let the A's off the hook.

Jeffrey said...

Does anybody know if anything came out of the Wolff/Morrison meeting at Quiznos?

Anonymous said...

ML,

There's Ballpark Parking 16.3 acres behind 3 Office Space at the end of the overview planning document that was shared with the Fremont Unified school board. Do you know what are they building there?

I think Lew Wolff Should build Parking garage, since its was empty. Lew Wolff should build Cisco campus there across Auto Mall rather than 19.5 acres Ballpark Parking.

What do you think ML?

Marine Layer said...

That's the Christy Concrete plant. That's where the 6 acres that can't be developed are located, so it's really 10.3 acres. It would be a likely location for a garage.

Jeff said...

This may be a stupid question ML, but in a city the size of Fremont, are the retailers really going to oppose the nearby parking being "overrun"? On the face of it, it would seem to me that this is exactly what they would want. While not all are going to shop, some surely will.

I could see this as a problem for major ticket items such as cars and appliance retailers, but wouldn't it be more of an opportunity for small end retailers? It just seems to me that the whole point is drawing people to the area...and then getting them to part with their money. But first you have to get them there.

Marine Layer said...

Here's a hypothetical, Jeff. Say the ballpark is built and there are no changes to parking management at Pacific Commons. Assume that you are not a baseball fan but are a Fremont resident. The day of a weekend game, you have to go to a local hardware store to pick up some tools.

The area is served by a Lowe's in Pacific Commons, and a Home Depot a mile east on Auto Mall. You know that parking and access could be a problem at Lowe's due to its proximity to the ballpark. If price difference were negligible, would you rather go to Lowe's or Home Depot?

The Auto Mall car dealerships brought up this issue as well. Their concerns will probably push the A's to schedule more Saturday night games to reduce conflicts with dealerships.

Jeff said...

OK ML, I can see your point, but I can't see that it would make a lot of sense from a retailers point of view. If I am a retailer I would be thinking that for a four hour window 81 days a year, I might be inconviencing my local shoppers. On the other hand, during those same 81 days, my products are on display to thousands of people prepared to spend. On the other hand, absent those 81 home days, I'm guaranteed to have abundant parking for the forseeable future.

Is this incorrect? It would seem to me to be an excellent tradeoff.

Anonymous said...

ML, it's worse than you suggest. The shopper who isn't a baseball fan isn't going to know which days and times the A's are playing and will tend to *always* avoid that Lowe's in favor of Home Depot. They're not going to want to keep track of a schedule for which days and times are bad for parking at Lowe's when they can more easily avoid the problem by just not patronizing those businesses at all. They'll get annoyed a couple of times, then just not go back.

Marine Layer said...

Exactly. The customer is going to be moved as much by convenience - or perceived convenience - as anything else. So even though 2/3 of the schedule will be at night which means that Lowe's and Costco would be impacted only 25-30 days per year, perceived impact is just as important. As long as the stores felt their way of doing business was somehow threatened, they'll have a claim. That doesn't mean they won't support the ballpark as I'm sure many can appreciate the increased visibility. But they will ask for concessions.

Anonymous said...

ML,

Can you tell me what will the townhouse look like in Ballpark Village?

How will resident park their cars who lived in the townhouse?

Why Lew Wolff want so many townhouse rather than Condo and more retail?

Marine Layer said...

The townhouses are expected to look like East Coast rowhouses or brownstones. That's all I really know at this point. I expect that they'll have their own garages.

In the Valley townhomes net better sales prices, though they may be slightly more expensive to build. In the end I think some number of condos will have to be introduced as a compromise because the developers won't be able to use as much land for townhomes as their ideal plan specifies.

Furthermore, the luxury urban condo market is not limitless. Townhomes have a much broader market, including families.

SexFlavoredPez said...

ML,

I dont know if you're familiar with the parking situation in Baltimore or not, but when I attended a Ravens game last season there were several (seemed like hundreds) small privately owned and operated lots in the stadium area. I would estimate we ended up walking amost a mile to get to the stadium. What would it take for this to happen in the surrounding areas in Fremont? Couldn't one of the local property managers consider this an opportunity to offer game night parking on thier own, mostly empty, parking lot? Since most of these buildings would be emptying out after 5 on weekdays and completely empty on the weekends it would appear to me that there is an opportunity to both aide the parking situation and make some extra cash at minimal expense for those property owners in the nearby area.