Section 4: Parking

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This section discusses the features and design criteria for parking and includes the following subsections:


Fringe Parking Lots

Fringe parking lots are congestion mitigation and energy conservation measures utilized by TxDOT. Depending on the function which they are intended to serve, they may be one of the following types of facilities:

Park and Pool Lots

Park and Pool lots are usually located on the fringe of an urban area along an arterial roadway at a convenient point where a group of two or more drivers from a surrounding area can gather, leave their individual vehicle and proceed to a common destination in one of the group member’s vehicles. The carpool may consist of two or more persons per vehicle. The lot may provide space for a small to large number of vehicles and serve many carpools involving several destinations.

Park and pool lots are located within the highway right-of-way except where they may be in combination with a park and ride lot as discussed below. They are eligible for Federal-aid participation. The lots should be simply designed to accommodate the passenger vehicle with regard to parking stall widths, drive through isles and turning movements.

Park and Ride Lots

Park and Ride lots are generally constructed along express bus routes and are designed to intercept automobiles from low-density suburban developments along transitway corridors. The quality of transit service must be attractive. The time required to reach the destination point by bus must be comparable to or better than driving one’s own vehicle.

The facility should be located with regard to the following criteria:

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  • Along a corridor which encounters 20,000 vehicles per day, per lane;
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  • In advance of the point where intense traffic congestion routinely occurs;
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  • 4 to 5 miles from the activity center (usually the Central Business District) served by the transitway and at least 4 to 5 miles from another park and ride facility;
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  • Downstream from, but in the immediate area of, sufficient demand for travel to the activity center being served; and
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  • On the right-hand side of the inbound roadway.

Other desirable features include the following:

Typical park and ride layouts include the following design features:

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  • Bus travel area designed to accommodate the anticipated type of bus for all turning movements;
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  • Bus loading areas located to reduce conflict between buses and private vehicles;
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  • Maximum walking distance of 650-ft;
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  • Bus access points separate from private vehicle access points if demand exceeds 500 all-day spaces;
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  • Parking placed in the following order with respect to proximity of the bus loading area:
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  • Ingress and egress located near midblock on collector and local streets; direct access to arterials and freeway ramps should only be used if projected queues do not interfere with functional areas of nearby intersections; at least two ingress/egress points should be provided to the park and ride facility; right and left turn lanes with adequate storage should be added to all ingress/egress locations;
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  • Parking lanes in the park and ride lot placed approximately 90 degrees to the bus loading area to facilitate safe, convenient walking to buses; and
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  • Curbs depressed and wheelchair ramps provided where necessary; disabled parking spaces and pedestrian facilities should be in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines and Texas Accessibility Standards.

Combination Park and Pool/Park and Ride Lot

These combination type lots serve the purposes and combine the features of each of the two types of facilities discussed above.


Further information on the planning and design of park and ride facilities may be found in the following publications:

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  • AASHTO’s Policy on Geometric Design of Streets and Highways;
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  • AASHTO’s Guide for Park and Ride Facilities; and
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  • TCRP Report 155, Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit, 2nd Edition, Transportation Research Board (TRB)

Authority and Funding

For fringe parking areas within highway right-of-way, projects are generally developed as any other multiple use project. When parking lots are proposed outside of existing or proposed highway right-of-way, commission approval is required.

Park and pool lots are eligible for Federal-aid participation. Projects are usually located within or adjacent to highway right-of-way outside the central business district, but inside the urbanized area, and consistent with the urban transportation planning process. Operation and maintenance responsibilities should be assigned to local transit, government, or other agencies by agreement.

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Parking Along Highways and Arterial Streets

This section deals with parking as it pertains to the mainlanes of a controlled access highway, the frontage roads for such a facility, and parking along urban and suburban arterials. Off-street parking facilities provided within highway right-of-way are discussed in the previous section, Fringe Parking Lots. Rest areas as parking facilities are not considered in this section.

Emergency Parking

Parking on and adjacent to the mainlanes of a controlled access highway will not be permitted except for emergency situations. It is of paramount importance that provisions be made for emergency parking. Shoulders of adequate design provide for this required parking space.

Curb Parking

In general, curb parking on urban/suburban arterial streets and frontage roads should be discouraged. Where speed is low and the traffic volumes are well below capacity, curb parking may be permitted. However, at higher speeds and during periods of heavy traffic movement, curb parking is incompatible with arterial street service and should not be permitted. Curb parking reduces capacity and interferes with free flow of adjacent traffic. Elimination of curb parking can increase the capacity of four-to-six lane arterials by 50 to 60 percent.

If curb parking is used on urban/suburban arterials or frontage roads under the conditions stated above, the following design requirements should be met:

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  • Provide parking lanes only at locations where needed;
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  • Parallel parking preferred;
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  • Confine parking lanes to outer side of street or frontage road;
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  • Require that parking lane widths be 10-ft; and
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  • Restrict parking a minimum of 20-ft back from the radius of the intersection to allow for sight distance, turning clearance and, if desired, a short right turn lane.
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