Parking Structure Design

Implement high quality, well-designed parking structures to accommodate parking demand, maximize ground-level utilization, and support adjacent land uses.

Use high quality architectural design, materials and details that complement neighborhood character.

Design Guidelines
Policy & Implementation
The Role of Local Government & Transit First Policies
Guiding Principles of Land Use
Flexible Zoning Strategies
Street Design Implementation
Revising Transportation Analysis Practices
Transportation Demand Management
Rethinking Vehicle Parking Requirements
Parking Management
Best Practices to Attract Successful Developers
Clarifying Design Expectations
Integrating Retail into Transit Oriented Development
Community Planning for Rail Transit
Additional Resources
A photo of a brick parking garage that blends blends in with adjacent development.
Parking Structure, Boulder, CO (Source: Flickr - Brett VA)
    A photo of a parking garage next to a five story residential development. The parking garage has art and complements the color of the residential development.
    LA Plaza Village Structured Parking, Los Angeles, CA (Source: Watry Design Inc. - Heather Collins)

    Conform parking structure height and façades to match the surrounding built environment and adjacent uses. Parking structures should complement the scale and character of the neighborhood.

    • Consider design choices that support future conversions to alternative land uses, such as flat floors and minimum 8’ ceiling heights.





    A graphic of a multistory parking garage that is in-between two existing buildings.
    Berkeley Parking Garage, Berkeley, CA (Source: SF Chronicle, Billy Hustace Photography)

    Incorporate other land uses within the parking structure whenever possible to integrate parking into the built environment.









    A photo of four parking spots reserved for car share program vehicles near a building's entrance.
    Priority Parking, Menlo Park, CA

    Consider the predominate users to the parking structure (office, retail, health care, residential, events) when considering ADA accessible spaces, reserved spaces, access restrictions, pedestrian circulation, parking space geometry, one-way vs. two-way traffic flow and ingress/egress systems.







    A photo of inside a parking garage with vehicle parking perpendicular to vehicle lanes.
    Parking perpendicular to vehicle lanes

    Utilize a circulation system that maximizes structure efficiency and promotes ease of use while minimizing potential conflicts.

    • Maximize pedestrian and vehicle lines of sight to enhance circulation and safety.

    • Provide strong pedestrian connections to street level and adjacent residential and/or businesses.

    • Orient parking spaces perpendicular to travel corridors or in the predominate direction of pedestrian travel.

    • Parking structures should be 250 feet in length or longer. Longer parking structures provide the opportunity for end bays, which provides more parking spaces, improves efficiency, lowers the cost per space, and allows for shallower ramps.











    A graphic of a colorful parking garage with solar panels on top.
    LEED Certified Parking Garage, Santa Monica, CA (Source: - Wendi Marafino)

    Incorporate sustainable design features such as green roofs/ solar panels, water-efficient landscaping, energy efficient light sources, and recycled building materials.









    A photo of a parking garage with a pedestrain crosswalk.
    Pedestrian Crossing in Parking Garage

    Incorporate real-time succinct, uniform, and well-placed wayfinding signage for both vehicles and pedestrians on the structure exterior and interior to relay necessary parking information, improve safety, and enhance user experience.









    A photo of an enclosed bike parking area within a parking garage.
    Bicycle Parking in Parking Garage, Menlo Park, CA

    Incorporate multimodal and active transportation parking in the structure related to bike parking and lockers, carpool or TNC pickup/ drop-off, micromobility, motorcycles, electric vehicles, and others if applicable.