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What Have We Have Learned From Our Parking Data?

Over the years, one of the major complaints about Durham is the parking. Last spring, I attended a UNH Cooperative Extension Main Street Program and was able to hear other New Hampshire communities' parking experiences. We are not alone. For some towns, it was an awareness problem. While there was an adequate number of spaces, they were not directly in front of businesses. Other communities lacked enough spaces and were looking to build a parking facility. To help our town officials determine the nature of our parking issues, we collected data from our kiosks and parking enforcement employees. During the week of May 5, 2019, morning, midday, and afternoon data was collected and here is what we found.

Short Term Parking

This is the short term parking map I used in my last parking post. Below it, I have included a table that provides the total number of spaces at each location, and the morning, midday, and afternoon average available spaces.

While it might require a short walk, even during the busiest part of the day there were an adequate numbers of downtown parking spaces. It just happens that some were not directly in front of businesses. The downtown traffic pattern make Sammy's Lot an obvious choice.The walk from this lot to Main Street is not that much longer than parking and walking around the stores at the mall. It is also likely that when UNH has events, our thin parking margin disappears.

Long Term Parking

What about long term parking? Here is the long term parking map and the May 2019 data for average available spaces in the morning, midday, and afternoon.

Since UNH attracts many visitors, it makes sense to have a lot of long term spots close to campus. It also explains why we need to mirror UNH's parking fees. One area I have heard a complaint about is Madbury Road between Pettee Brook Lane and Mathes Terrance (#1 on the map above). This area is home to a number of retail businesses, and they expressed concerns that long-term parking out front reduces turnover.

While the May data does provide a helpful snapshot, we need regular sampling during the entire year to get a more complete picture. My hope is that we collect a fall, winter, spring, and summer sample.

My last post in the series will look at parking for business owners and their employees. Don't forget to display your receipt, and if you have a resident/taxpayer, put your Durham sticker on your windshield.

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