California cities ought to include parking maintenance and construction in their efforts to curtail traffic congestion. Improving flow by standing still may seem counterintuitive, but providing convenient parking options will get drivers off the road and prevent them from wandering in the pursuit of the ideal spot.

Cities don’t have to take up an already limited amount of space to create ideal parking areas. Read on to learn how your city can combat congestion through creative parking solutions.

How cities can improve parking to cut congestion

Parking meters

Drivers may quietly object to parking fees, but installing parking meters, and charging the right price, has many positive outcomes for civilians and cities. Studies have shown that smart use of parking meters can decrease traffic, encourage use of public transit, and increase tax revenues.

Meters control traffic in two ways: First, when cities offer free city-wide parking, they’re encouraging drivers to tool around town at an annoyingly slow pace in search of better parking. Because let’s face it, people are inherently lazy, evolutionarily inclined to conserve energy. Second, most people either resent or outright object to paying for parking. This is a win for cities who want to sway civilians toward the use of public transit.

What benefits could civilians possibly reap from paying for parking? Getting cars off the road by encouraging the use of public transit means less pollution and wasted time idling in traffic. Plus, parking meters expand tax revenues, allowing municipalities to invest in public works, such as roads and schools.

Convenient city-wide EV charging stations

Many EV charging stations can restore an electric vehicle’s charge to 80 percent capacity within 30 minutes to an hour. That’s 30 minutes to an hour that cities can reduce congestion per vehicle. With the rising popularity of fully electric cars, such as Elon Musk’s Tesla line and Chevrolet’s Bolt, municipalities should think about diverting some of that added tax revenue earned from parking meters to investments in convenient, city-wide charging stations. Like parking meters, going electric also offers the added health benefit of slashing pollution.

Build parking garages

The California population is growing rapidly, with projections reaching over 44 million in the next two decades. This is expected to put a lot of pressure on infrastructure. Though city initiatives, such as LA’s Measure M, aims to improve transportation infrastructure by expanding public transit options, there are still going to be a lot people who are going to need a place to park. If cities want to conserve space but offer plentiful parking, they need to build upward.

Stacking cement is only half the picture; cities need to control the flow of traffic inside parking garages as well. Installing intuitive signage and using good old-fashioned paint for striping, directional arrows, and stenciling are simple ways to direct vehicles, reducing congestion inside the garage to prevent gridlock on the streets.

Mini public parks

Cities might be able to more evenly distribute traffic around rush hours by encouraging people to hang out for just a little bit longer. What if the perimeter and concrete medians in parking lots were filled with trees, flowers, and comfortable places to sit? People are unlikely to squat in parking lots for long stretches of time before or after work, but what about 20, maybe 30, minutes?

Along with public transit expansion, interconnected bikeways, and highway improvements, parking can help solve the problem of traffic congestion. Cities like LA and San Francisco, two of the top ten cities with the worst traffic in the world,  can greatly benefit from implementing some of these creative parking solutions.

Curcio Enterprises offers a full array of services, from striping to custom signage and layouts, to help cities and businesses provide the public with convenient parking options. Contact us today to discuss how Curcio can fight congestion through parking!