River Park Plaza Shopping Center - City of Fresno

Parking Demand and Design

While with another consulting firm, Mr. Jose Luis Benavides, P.E. was the project manager and traffic engineer of record who conducted a parking study for the River Park Plaza Shopping Center located at the northeast corner of Blackstone Avenue and Nees Avenue in the City of Fresno. The shopping center owners were going to reconstruct the parking lot to improve circulation and increase parking supply as a result of it experiencing a high parking demand from patrons and the future opening of a new restaurant, Westwoods BBQ & Spice Company. To assist in this proccess, parking occupancy surveys were conducted to determine the peak parking demand and percentage attributable to each existing business.

After consultation with the property owners, it was determined that peak parking demand generally occured Thursday through Saturday, so parking occupancy surveys were conducted at half hour intervals between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM on those days. Based on the three-day parking occupancy surveys, it was determined that the peak parking demand took place at 1:30 PM on Friday. In order to get a better understanding of the anticipated parking demand once the proposed Westwoods BBQ & Spice Company restaurant was fully operational, hourly parking demand rates utilizing the Parking Generation (4th Edition) were determined and added to the observed parking demand data for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

The number of vehicles queued on the drive-thru aisles at both In-N-Out and Chick-Fil-A were also collected. Up to 21 and 14 queued vehicles were observed for the In-N-Out and Chick-Fil-A, respectively. It was commonly observed that queuing from these drive-thru services extended deep into the parking aisles, making it difficult and inconvenient for shoppers to access the parking stalls that were available. Therefore, it was recommended that the River Park Plaza Shopping Center consider modifying its proposed employee parking locations for the Chick-Fil-A and In-N-Out restaurants in an effort to improve parking utilization upstream of the drive-thru aisles for these restaurants.

Based on the parking surveys, during the peak parking demand that takes place at 1:30 PM on Friday, a total of 305 parking stalls were occupied – out of the 445 parking stalls, 140 stalls were unoccupied. With the addition of the Westwoods BBQ & Spice Company restaurant, the peak parking demand was anticipated to take place at 1:30 PM and 6:00 PM on Friday with a maximum demand of 424 stalls, which equates to 95 percent occupancy rate and a total of 21 available stalls. Therefore, this study concluded that the available parking supply would serve the existing and future demand.