Many communities are evaluating parking issues as part of a broader process of reevaluating their overall goals for growth. They want and need new residents and jobs for vitality, economic growth, and other reasons, but they need to decide how and where to accommodate them. In cities, towns, and countryside, new and newly rediscovered development patterns offer solutions. In many places, walkable town centers that offer stores, workplaces, and housing in close proximity are replacing malls and office parks, offering shops and dining along with places to live and work. New neighborhoods offer different housing types and daily conveniences within a pleasant, safe walking distance. Vacant, underused and contaminated sites can be reclaimed and benefit their communities with new jobs and housing, improved recreational opportunities, and increased fiscal stability. Many communities are working to offer choices to residents, so they can take a train, ride a bike, or walk instead of driving, if that is what is best for them and their families. Whether the resulting development patterns are called smart growth, quality growth, or balanced growth, they work by creating great places. The policies described in this report can help communities explore new, flexible parking policies that can encourage growth and balance their parking needs with their other goals. The case study in this report of the SAFECO Corporation illustrates the potential to use parking policies to save money, improve the environment, and meet broader community goals. SAFECO has its corporate headquarters in the Seattle region. To accommodate new employees, this insurance company built three new buildings and underground parking garages. In an effort to balance parking needs with their financial, environmental, and design goals, they choose to offer employees transit passes, vanpool and rideshare incentives, or parking. Over 40percent of SAFECO's employees choose an alternative to driving alone. As a
result, each year SAFECO's 1700 employees drive about 1.2 million miles less than average commuters in the Seattle region, saving 28 tons of carbon monoxide, a serious pollutant tracked by the EPA. SAFECO also reduced the amount of ground that needed to be paved by 100,000 square feet, leading to less runoff in this rainy area. The company saves an estimated $230,000 per year, after accounting for the costs of incentives and the savings from reducing the amount of parking built.