Providing sufficient car parking to meet the needs of residents whilst creating attractive streets can be a significant challenge. Parking provision and parking within the streetscene can have a significant baring on the character and appearance of an area and its functionality. Parking can tend to dominate streets, weaken the sense of enclosure and erode placemaking qualities. Imaginative solutions are therefore required to respond to the challenge.
Parking has to be designed carefully, and parking capacity needs to be flexible. A neighbourhood that looks like a big carpark with some homes around it, will not be as valued and successful as one that accommodates cars in a sophisticated way.
The most efficient place to put parking spaces is on the street, at the edge of the carriageway. This arrangement allows for drivers’ manoeuvres to take place on the carriageway itself, rather than in dedicated space in a parking court. It means the cars do not have to drive over pavements into front gardens - an approach that can demote the pedestrian to second place, reduce the scope for planting and generally degrade house frontages.
Residents tend to favour parking solutions which maintain a line of sight between their dwelling and their vehicle. Parking courts to the rear of properties tend to be less successful and become unused if they’re not designed well.
Parking which is properly integrated along the street or within the curtilage of the house is often the most successful and should be designed into the development at an early stage. Spaces which are integrated within the streetscene should be combined and screened with generous planting. This might mean a tree after every two kerbside places; planting around a mid street grouping or ensuring that part of the front garden includes plants at least a metre tall in height to soften the impact of parking.
Aside from the use of landscaping, parking can also be intergated effectively with certain house types which offer set backs for parking cars or have extruded frontages to screen parking from views along the street scene.