On-Street Parking Enhancements

On-street parking can be both a benefit and a detriment to pedestrians. On-street parking increases positive "friction" along a street and can narrow the effective crossing width, both of which encourage slower speeds. Parking can also provide a buffer between moving motor vehicle traffic and pedestrians along a sidewalk. In addition, businesses that rely on on-street parking as opposed to parking lots are more geared toward pedestrian access; they're more likely to orient their building to the sidewalk. This attention can foster a more vibrant pedestrian commercial environment.

Diagonal on-street parking has been provided on some downtown streets to provide additional parking and create "friction" for drivers (leading them to drive more slowly) that improves the pedestrian environment. Diagonal parking may require more attention to improve visibility at crossings and intersections, and it should not be used on high speed or busy streets. Back-in diagonal parking is also an option, and it may be preferred by those who fear the "back-out-into-traffic" aspect of conventional diagonal parking.

On the other hand, parking creates a visual barrier between motor vehicle traffic and crossing pedestrians, especially children and people using wheelchairs. Therefore, where there is on-street parking, curb extensions (also called bulb-outs) should be built where pedestrians are expected to cross the road. Care should be taken to accommodate storm water runoff with curb extensions.

Parking needs to be removed on the approaches to crosswalks. At least 6 m (20 ft) of parking should be removed on the approach to a marked or unmarked crosswalk and about 6 m (20 ft) of parking should be removed downstream from the crosswalk. Some agencies require the removal of 9 to 15 m (30 to 50 ft) of parking from intersections for pedestrian safety reasons. Well-designed curb extensions can reduce these distances and minimize the loss of on-street parking spaces.


  • Provide motorist access to destinations along a street
  • Aid in speed reduction by increasing friction along the street
  • Provide a buffer between sidewalk edge and moving traffic


  • On-street parking may take up space desired for other uses, such as wider sidewalks, landscape strips, or bicycle lanes.
  • Approaches to crosswalks and intersections should be cleared or curb extensions added at crossing locations for pedestrian safety.
  • Parking meters should be used in downtown areas where there is a need for parking turnover. This can generate revenue for the community.

Estimated Cost

$30 to $150 per parking sign. About $300 per parking meter and installation. Curb paint and parking stall markings or striping costs are additional (optional). Parking meters can bring in considerable revenue, both in parking fees and parking citations that can more than offset their initial cost and on-going maintenance. Also, on-street parking is considerably less expensive than off-street parking, due to the reduced surface area needed (e.g., no access roads or aisles) per parking spot.