Parking Counts Highlight Available Spaces

Recent parking counts taken in collaboration with the University of Vermont Transportation Research Center (UVM TRC) are providing a clearer picture of parking availability in downtown Burlington.

The counts taken over the last three months are showing that even during peak times, and during a busy construction season, parking is available in both downtown garages and at on-street meters. Our study times and days correlate with the recommendations laid out in our Downtown Parking & Transportation Plan. It’s important to note, our counts will continue into the spring and summer, so stay tuned for more data in the coming months.

During morning hours on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, City Garages collectively never rose above 75% utilization. Saturdays and Sundays saw vacancies of over 50% between Marketplace, College and Lakeview Garages. In the afternoon and evening hours, vacancies never dipped below 39%, with Thursday and Sundays providing over 50% availability. These percentages amount to an average of 897 spaces available between 6-7pm in all three garages on Thursdays and an average of 598 vacant spaces during the same time period on Saturdays. It is important to note, the majority of our City Garage availability is at Lakeview and College Street garages on lower Cherry and College streets. These garages offer two-hour free parking and are within a five minute walk of Church Street Marketplace or Lake Champlain.

Downtown parking meters also showed availability, both inside and outside of the Downtown Core. Morning and evening counts showed utilization near or below 85% utilization, the industry standard goal, leaving one to two spaces open per block. Morning counts still show fairly low utilization, averaging a little over 38% during the 8-9am time period over various Thursdays and Saturdays across the previous three months. We’ll continue to analyze all of these time periods and facilities to drive forward smart parking policy.

Last December, we used two years worth of data to help the City decrease the hours of enforcement for on-street meters across BTV; read more here! Thus far, the data shows that these changes have not had any negative impacts to availability and have provided parkers more time in the morning and evening to park for free.

Counts showed that private parking facilities also had surplus spaces. Many garages and lots are privately run in Burlington, including the Corporate Plaza (76 Saint Paul St.) and Courthouse Plaza (179 S. Winooski Ave) garages. We’ve partnered with all private parking facilities that offer public parking to gain more insight into their data. Thursday evenings, around 7-9pm, averaged around 400 vacant spaces across all private facilities; on Saturday evenings, in the same time period, close to 350 spaces remained vacant.

To see both public and private parking facilities across Burlington, take a look at our interactive parking map. We’ve also worked with local partners to develop a Construction Map, showcasing parking near and around the now closed Burlington Town Center garage; keep an eye out for free hard copies of this map at downtown merchants and key locations.

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