Parking Benefit Zones

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A new way to manage on-street parking

LINK to Parking Benefit Zones FAQ Sheet

At the direction of the Bozeman City Commission, the Bozeman Parking Commission continues to research and implement new strategies for the effective management of on-street parking. These strategies are especially important in areas where on-street parking is shared by multiple user groups (residents, customers, employees, etc.) due to abutting ‘attractions’ such as a residential area and commercial business district. As a result, Ordinance #2033 is presently under consideration by the Bozeman City Commission. Ordinance # 2033 has several parts, but two major items:

1. Extend the authority of the Bozeman Parking Commission to regulate on-street, and off-street public, parking an additional 1000 linear feet beyond the boundaries of the downtown core (B-3 zone), by creation of the Downtown Bozeman Parking Management District.

2. Provide authority to the Bozeman Parking Commission to establish Parking Benefit Zones, as needed, within the Downtown Bozeman Parking Management District.

Parking Benefit Zones (PBZ) are a parking management best practice, utilized in communities that actively manage their on-street public parking resources. Parking Benefit Zones could be established where on-street parking within in a given area is at, or exceeds, 85% occupancy during peak periods on a regular basis. Briefly stated, PBZ’s restrict on-street parking to residences/businesses within the zone through use of a permit system. However, commuter parkers may also purchase a limited number of on-street parking permits -- depending on the actual occupancy/inventory of vehicles parking in the zone. The number of commuter parking permits will contract, or expand, as the PBZ is managed to the 85% occupancy principle (another parking management best practice). The city’s recent deployment of mobile license-plate-reader technology will assure that accurate data collection informs the permit management process on a regular basis.

While actively managing on-street parking, there is an additional ‘benefit’ to Parking Benefit Zones. It is the goal of PBZ’s to reinvest a portion of any fiscal surplus into a zone-specific benefit such as lowering parking permit fees for residents/business, street amenities, infrastructure (sidewalk repair, curb maintenance, etc.), or public transit enhancement. (NOTE: zone revenues – zone expenditures = fiscal surplus)

In the spring of 2019, three (3) public forums were held to solicit public input regarding the PBZ concept, as proposed by the Bozeman Parking Commission. The current PBZ proposal reflects the valuable insights gained from these sessions.

At this time, the PBZ concept is being considered for initial application in residential areas to the immediate North and South of the downtown business district (B-3). However, there are other areas where the PBZ might be considered as well. The creation of new PBZ's will first require legislative action by the Bozeman City Commission - enacting rules for the creation and operation of new PBZ's. The Bozeman City Commission gave approval to Ordinance 2033 (3-2), on First Reading, at its regular meeting on February 3, 2020.