CRTP mapped off-street parking in downtown Eureka and found that 57 acres are devoted to parking lots (not including covered garages or on-street parking). That’s about 34% of developable land devoted to parking in one of the most walkable areas in the whole region.
The area mapped in this analysis includes the districts identified as Downtown, Old Town, Library District, and Commercial Bayfront (west of Highway 255) in the City of Eureka 2040 General Plan. “Developable land” was calculated by subtracting street, alley and sidewalk area (estimated using satellite imagery) from the total land area. Streets, alleys and sidewalks were estimated to comprise 165 acres, or 35% of total downtown land area.
The analysis started with lots already labeled as parking in OpenStreetMap. The OpenStreetMap parking labels were verified through review of satellite imagery and ground-truthing. Satellite imagery and ground-truthing were also used to identify the remaining off-street parking not identified on OpenStreetMap.
The map does not include on-street parking or covered garages, but does include both public and private parking lots. Lots owned by private businesses and individuals are included because, although not all currently accessible for public parking, they are part of the total parking supply and could be used or managed differently in the future.
Special thanks to the Parking Reform Network for their expert guidance on the methodology for mapping downtown parking.
Parking is one of the most dominant land uses in downtown Eureka. There is so much parking in downtown Eureka that it actually presents a great opportunity for new development, particularly for housing. And ironically, this would be walkable housing, because it’s in the heart of the city. The key to downtown vitality is not parking, it’s people. More places to live and more reasons to get out of a car and walk or roll around can only help.
Parking experts note that while almost every community believes it has a “parking problem,” the reality is that most parking spaces sit vacant most of the time. A recent study by a consultant hired by the City of Eureka found a typical result: overall high vacancy rates in downtown parking even at peak hours.
No matter how much parking is provided, a space can never be guaranteed in the exact location and at the exact time desired by each driver, which leads to the impression that there is a parking problem. But this map shows that if there’s a problem, it’s a problem of management and not supply. Proven management strategies such as widespread metering and shared parking can make more efficient use of the parking supply, which will remain abundant even after some of it is replaced by affordable housing.