Parking Standards Ordinance Update

Did You Know?

Parking takes up about one-third of land area in U.S. cities; nationwide, there are an estimated eight parking spaces for every car. Outside of parking a vehicle, parking spaces do not add much value to communities yet take up so much space, why?  

Parking requirements have a profound impact on how we build our city, how we move around the city, and the city’s overall health. Learn more about parking requirements and engage with the City of Petaluma in a multi-part discussion series on Petaluma parking standards and the way parking shapes our city.  

Background: From 1970’s Auto-centric Development to Carbon Neutrality in 2030 

Petaluma is working to become carbon neutral by 2030. To do this, we will have to reduce our dependence on vehicles and the amount of land that is dedicated to parking them. Thus, we will be working with the community to update our parking rules to better align with broader city goals and community values. Additionally, we will also look at ways to increase transportation options to make getting around without a car easier. Alongside this effort, we will also be improving our roads to provide safer paths for walking and biking.  

One of the ways we shape our City’s dependence on cars is through our parking standards. These standards are dictated in Chapter 11 of our Implementing Zoning Ordinance (IZO) which is the document that describes the ways that new construction projects are designed. Parking standards not only shape our dependence on cars but also building design, the cost of housing, the overall health of the community, the way the City makes money, and even the way we socially interact with each other. Through discussions we will decide how we want to plan for vehicles and parking spaces and then staff will update the IZO and the new parking rules will be applied to future construction projects.

Another way we can reduce our dependence on cars is by finding ways to increase transportation options. In Planning terms, we do this with a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Program. These programs help make sure new development is designed to make it easier for folks to get around without a car. TDM strategies will also be examined through this effort.  

For more information on the ins and outs of parking standards and transportation demand management programs view the Educational Materials section of this webpage. 

Study Session Discussions  

In the coming months we will explore options to update our parking rules and increase transportation options. We plan to hold a series of study sessions to present and discuss options with City Council, Planning Commission, Petaluma Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and the broader community. We partnered with parking experts Nelson\Nygaard to host these study sessions and share their knowledge. Our goal is that these sessions will provide a launch pad for discussion about the benefits and tradeoffs associated with implementing new parking policies. As the topic of parking is wide-ranging the Parking Study Sessions are anticipated to be separated into three parts. This will enable attendees to have focused in-depth discussions on the various types of parking and associated standards. 

  • Upcoming Sessions:
    • Session #2. Public Parking. Meeting date to be determined.
    • Session #3. Public Transit and Alternative Transportation. Meeting date to be determined.


vehicles parked on street

Questions or Comments?

If you have questions or comments related to the Parking Standards and Transportation Demand Management Strategies Update effort, please send them to: 

Kelsey Hubbard (she/her/ella)
Senior Planner, City of Petaluma Planning Division

Subscribe To The Project Email List

Educational Materials 

Interested in learning more? Dive into the resources below! 

Parking Standards Read, Watch, and Listen List. Featuring a list of books, articles, YouTube videos, TikToks, and podcasts, the community is encouraged to use this list as a resource to strengthen their understanding of parking requirements - what they are, what they do, and how they shape cities and the way we live our lives.

Close window