Parking Study – Existing Conditions

Based on the data collected in August 2019, there are approximately 883 publicly available parking spaces in downtown:

  • 627 on-street spaces
  • 256 off-street spaces

During peak parking occupancy, which occurred on a weekday in summer during lunchtime, parking spaces were used as follows:

  • Overall, approximately 65% of parking spaces were occupied during the peak with 570 spaces occupied and 313 spaces available
    • On-street parking was 62% utilized with 389 spaces occupied and 238 spaces available
    • Off-Street parking was 71% utilized with 181 spaces occupied and 75 spaces available
Downtown Carpinteria Weekday Peak Parking Utilization

In general, when parking facilities are more than 85% occupied, users begin to perceive parking as “full” and are likely to spend more time circling to find a space (this can be 90% for off-street facilities, especially those used by employees who may be more familiar with a facility). At 85%, most spaces are being used but drivers can find an open one with minimal searching. Therefore, 85% is typically used as a target for optimal parking occupancy. With a peak occupancy of 65%, downtown Carpinteria currently has surplus parking available within the system as a whole. Therefore, even during busy summer parking conditions, there are still over 300 parking spaces available at the peak.

Some of this parking availability is located on residential streets. If future development draws more visitors downtown, parking conflicts may arise between residents, visitors, and employees. With this study, the City is proactively evaluating potential parking management strategies to ensure adequate access and parking needs are met for everyone.

How Long do People Park?

For this study, a parking turnover analysis, or how long people are parked, was conducted. A turnover analysis provides an understanding of how long vehicles park on the street and within lots, and if they are abiding by existing time limit restrictions. Overall, the majority of people who park in downtown stay for two hours or less.

  • Among those who parked downtown:
    • 74% were parked for less than two hours
    • 14% were parked for two-to-four hours
    • 12% were parked more than four hours
  • Linden Avenue experienced the highest turnover (90% of vehicles were parked less than two hours).
    • Most of Linden Avenue is restricted to 90-minutes, indicating approximately 10% of vehicles (20 vehicles) parked throughout the day may have violated the posted time limit.
  • Carpinteria Avenue also experienced a high rate of turnover with 83% parked for less than two hours.
    • Carpinteria Avenue is restricted to 90-minute parking.
    • Of vehicles parked on Carpinteria Avenue, 18% (20 vehicles) were parked two or more hours.
  • Those parked two or more hours in on-street parking primarily parked on side-streets (e.g. 7th Street, 8th Street, and 9th Street), however, there were some long-term parkers on Linden Avenue and Carpinteria Avenue, likely violating existing 90-minute time-limited restrictions.
  • In off-street facilities, Lot 2 (east of Linden Avenue on Cactus Lane), which has no time-limits, experienced the lowest turnover of parking spaces with over 60% of vehicles parked for more than two hours.

Overall, existing time-limits appear to be effective in encouraging turnover of the most in-demand spaces downtown. The lowest turnover was experienced in areas without posted time-limits.

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