Estimating the amount of on-street parking available in my towna

Mark Bloomberg

I'm trying to roughly estimate the total amount of parking in my town and am looking for suggestions or tools that folks might be familiar with.  Our town Parking Authority only tracks number of active permits for on-street parking and total metered spaces, but not the amount on-street non-metered parking.

We're in an urban setting that for the most part has a simple grid system. From a density perspective we've got just under 60,000 people in a 1 sq. mi. area. and there are nearly 13,000 on-street parking permits.  At night, we have cars illegally parked everywhere as there don't appear to be enough spots to accommodate everyone.

To get a better sense of the overall scope of the issue, can anyone point me to ideas on how to best estimate the amount of on-street parking available?








  • Comment author
    Edward Erfurt
    • Official comment

    There are several ways that you can estimate the number of parking spaces in your downtown. To get a quick, back of the napkin count, I would suggest start by measuring the street length from the edge of the curb between intersections, and divide by 25. You can do this with the measure tool in Google Maps. I would then do a manual count on 2-3 blocks to confirm the assumption. The resulting number is just an estimate.

    If you want a more accurate count, you can conduct a manual count. You can walk or drive around the area and count the number of actual parking spaces on the street. This can be time-consuming but it will give you an accurate count.

    Remember, the goal is to understand the parking capacity in broad general terms to inform the discussion. Rough counts may demonstrate that your community has adequate parking, and the struggle is actually a different problem.

    The reality may be that your community may not have a lack of parking, but lack of parking enforcement. 

  • Comment author
    Mark Bloomberg

    Thanks, Ed.  The back of the napkin approach would also require me to estimate a number of driveways and fire hydrants per block.

    I think I'm going to go out and canvas 4 different 3 x 3 block areas in town and do a physical count, take the average and then extrapolate that across the entire town (after subtracting out the metered spaces).  That should give me a ballpark.



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