City Council Adopts On-Street Parking Policy

Parking Meter | Image by New Africa/Shutterstock
Parking Meter | Image by New Africa/Shutterstock

On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council adopted a policy governing on-street parking and curb management as part of its strategic mobility plan.

Connect Dallas, the strategic mobility plan (SMP) that City leaders adopted in 2021, is a framework for developing transportation policies, programs, and strategies that integrate with other facets of community development, such as housing, economic vitality, environmental stability, and safety. According to a City document that outlines the policy details, one of the SMP recommendations involved developing a policy to proactively manage the City’s “Curbside Assets.”

The newly adopted City of Dallas On-Street Parking and Curb Management Policy, which has been in development since late 2020, was designed to do just that. It contains detailed guidelines and action items focused on parking meters, parking time restrictions, signage, curb-lane policies, special user parking, loading zones, and other related items.

The recommendations and guidelines contained in the 94-page document offer a “range of solutions that are sensitive to land use, neighborhood context, density, and existing infrastructure,” according to the City document. “Many community organizations and City staff contributed to the policy language to ensure that the goals, policies, and strategies are achievable and fit within the context of the City of Dallas’ many diverse and unique neighborhoods.”

The policy has gained the support of the Greater Dallas Planning Council.

One policy recommendation would see the City install more parking meters in certain areas, setting rates between $1 and $6 per hour based on average occupancy. Currently, parking meter rates in Dallas vary between $0.05 and $1.50 per hour.

“Increasing rates has been shown by several studies to decrease parking occupancy, and decreasing rates has been shown to increase parking occupancy,” according to the policy. “The goal of Dallas’s performance-based parking pricing program is to set the LOWEST PRICE that achieves the goal of one or two open parking spaces on each block face during business hours, thereby making it easier for patrons to access businesses, mitigating the need to circle the block to find parking, and reducing traffic congestion.”

“If the price is too high and many parking spaces remain vacant, nearby stores lose customers, and the City loses tax revenue. If the price is too low and no spaces are vacant, people will be discouraged from visiting an area. Therefore, correctly pricing parking based on demand is the key tool by which the City will meet its performance goal,” the policy document explains.

“To allow for a performance-based pricing approach, and based on the research into peer cities, an hourly rate range between $1.00 and $6.00 per hour is recommended for approval by City Council. To maintain a flexible range of rates, they should be adjusted up or down by $0.25 or $0.50/hour at least once a year as needed.”

The policy also includes recommendations “to help Dallas move towards a performance-based parking pricing framework.” Topics discussed include:

  • Criteria for creating new metered parking areas or modifying the boundaries of existing ones.
  • When to install new paid parking stalls or parking meters.
  • When and by how much to adjust parking meter rates.
  • When to establish and adjust event parking rates.
  • How parking meter revenues can be used.
  • Parking meter technology considerations.
  • Methods for collecting occupancy data to make data-driven decisions.

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