Olympia's Parking Strategy

Family in downtown paying parking meter with a smartphone

What is the Parking Strategy?

The Downtown Strategy calls for a comprehensive approach to addressing Olympia's parking challenges. This is especially important as more residents and businesses move into downtown over the coming years.

The Parking Strategy will guide our actions as we develop parking policy and management strategies that support community goals for economic development, housing, and transportation.

The Parking Strategy includes a study with data and public feedback to help us understand current parking conditions. It also includes a summary of key strategies to address the parking issues identified during the study.

Strategy chapters & actions

Strategy 1: Update Management & Enforcement Tools

  • (1.1) Implement the NuPark Parking Management System and License Plate Reader (LPR) system to improve enforcement and ongoing data collection to support parking management and implement Pay-by-Phone system-wide as part of this project.

Strategy 2: Improve On-Street Parking

  • (2.1) Prioritize short-term parking in the Downtown core and adjust pricing if necessary in order to manage to the 85% rule to ensure the right spot for the right person.
  • (2.2) Implement paid parking and enforcement on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the Downtown core.
  • (2.3) Convert 9-hour meters in the Downtown to short-term visitor parking.
  • (2.4) Collect data and monitor parking demand to analyze the impacts of 15 minutes of free parking and free holiday parking.

Strategy 3: Reinvigorate Off-Street Parking

  • (3.1) Develop a signage/wayfinding plan by character area to better identify off-street parking facilities.
  • (3.2) Design/manage a voluntary City-led shared parking program.
  • (3.3) Conduct a feasibility study to determine whether to consolidate parking resources in a City-owned parking garage(s).
  • (3.4) Consider the use of service agreements and partnerships with private developers for the use of city-owned land (existing surface parking lots).
  • (3.5) Revaluate parking requirements for new non-residential development.
  • (3.6) Examine possible building or development code revisions to require or encourage EV charging infrastructure.
  • (3.7) Look for opportunities to partner with EV charging providers and introduce fast chargers in the public setting.
  • (3.8) Consider allowing parking validation through local businesses.

Strategy 4: Improve Access to Downtown

  • (4.1) Improve pedestrian and bicycle connections to and from Downtown to reduce future parking demand.
  • (4.2) Expand secure bike parking Downtown using a systematic, data-driven approach.
  • (4.3) Encourage carsharing in public and private parking facilities.
  • (4.4) Collaborate with local and regional transit agencies to improve service to and from Downtown.
  • (4.5) Implement street and public space improvements from the Downtown Strategy to improve pedestrian comfort, mobility, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) focusing on the Downtown Core.
  • (4.6) For Downtown street projects, explore alternatives that provide angled parking.
  • (4.7) Implement a program that will give free bus passes to low to moderate income.

Strategy 5: Refine Residential & Employee Parking

  • (5.1) Convert current residential and employee on-street permits to temporary access permits with a monthly fee.
  • (5.2) Provide residential and employee off-street parking options through the shared parking program in order to provide predictability.
  • (5.3) Implement a downtown employee parking education program
  • (5.4) Increase the price of on-street residential and 9-hour meter permits to incentivize the use of off-street parking options.
  • (5.5) Establish parking user priorities based on the ground floor land use along the street frontage for on-street parking.
  • (5.6) Review the boundaries, time limits, and enforcement of the residential parking zones in the SE Neighborhood Character Area.

Strategy 6: Enhance Arts, Culture & Entertainment Uses

  • (6.1) Develop shared use parking agreements to support major entertainment and culture events focused in the Downtown core including disabled parking stalls.

Strategy 7: Improve Disabled Parking Management

  • (7.1) Work with other departments on achieving Downtown Strategy goals around safety, lighting, and cleanliness in Downtown Olympia to ensure that the parking system is clean and safe.
  • (7.2) Confirm that all City-owned off-street facilities are compliant with ADA parking requirements.
  • (7.3) Restrict disabled parking to the 4-hour limit allowed by state law for on-street parking.
  • (7.4) Review the number and locations of on-street disabled stalls and ensure high demand areas, such as the core, have sufficient disabled parking stalls.
  • (7.5) Work with State representative to implement reforms that would result in reduced handicap placard misuse.


Contact Max DeJarnatt at 360.570.3723 or mdejarna@ci.olympia.wa.us

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