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Glossary of Parking Terms

85% Rule – A common approach to parking management that states the occupancy rate during peak demand is optimal at 85%. If consistently above 85%, strategies should be considered to lower it. For parking garages, 90% occupancy during peak demand is considered optimal.

Appeal – The disputing of a citation. In Vancouver, hearings are done through the Clark County court system. The parker has 15 days to appeal a citation, which is a state law.

Citation (aka parking ticket) – A written or printed summons prepared by an official charged with enforcing parking regulations.

Columbia Bank Garage (City Lot 5) – City owned garage located at 5th and Broadway offering hourly parking. Most of the spaces in the garage are leased but available to the public evenings and weekends.

Enterprise Fund – A fund created by the separation of budgeting and accounting mechanisms for functions that are self-supporting. This allows revenue and financial control of the operation to be separate from other services which are generally funded through taxes. In Vancouver, the Parking Department is an Enterprise Fund.

Long-term Parking – Parking spaces typically designated for use for five hours or longer. In Vancouver, this includes ten hour meters, on street permits, off street permits, and hourly parking in the Vancouver Center Garage. With the exception of our surface lots and two parking garages, long term parking is located outside the business district in Vancouver.

Meter – Hardware associated with a single parking space used to manage payment.

Occupancy – The percentage of spaces in a facility that are occupied.

Off-street Parking – Refers to all parking not along curbs of streets; includes private and public lots, garages, driveways etc. In Vancouver we have two public garages and a number of surface lots.

On-street Parking – Refers to all parking along the curb of streets. In Vancouver, we have approximately 3,000 on street spaces.

Overtime Parking – Overstaying the signed time limits for a parking space. Parkers may have enough money in the meter, but still get ticketed for not obeying the time limit.

Pay and Display – A type of parking operation that requires the customer to pay at a pay station in advance and place the receipt on/in their vehicle. Other types of payment methods are Pay-by-Plate, Pay-by-Space, Pay-on-Entry, Pay-on-Exit, Pay-on-Foot, and Pay-by-Phone. In Vancouver, we use Pay and Display and Pay-by-Phone.

Pay by Phone – Method of payment allowing the customer to pay using a cell phone or mobile application.

Pay Station (or kiosk) – Hardware associated with multiple parking spaces used to manage payment. In Vancouver we are replacing single spaces meters with pay stations. Advantages include the use of credit cards for payment in addition to coins.

Permit – Anything that allows a driver to park in a designated area. In Vancouver we have a number of monthly permits: Vancouver Center garage, for our lots, and on street (including car pool).

Scofflaw – A repeat parking offender.

Short-term Parking – Parking spaces that are restricted to limited duration/time (often less than four hours). Typically regulated with meters/pay stations and usually located near businesses to provide parking for customers while encouraging turnover.

Transit Overlay District – A designated area within a base zoning district for which specific land use regulations apply. Specifically for Vancouver’s parking, this district allows for reducing the minimum number of required parking spaces a developer has to build from 1 per residential unit to .75 per unit.

Transportation Demand Management (TDM) – The implementation of policies or best practices that reduce the use of single occupancy vehicles on public roadways in favor of public transportation.

Turnover – How often a parking space goes from being unoccupied to occupied and vice versa within a given period of time; often measured within the course of a day or hours of operation.

VancouverCenter Garage (City Lot 18) – City owned garage located at 600 Columbia Street offering hourly, daily, and monthly permit options for parkers. 

Vancouver Municipal Code (VMC) – Ordinances or laws of the City. Most of Parking’s can be found in Title 19 with related material in Title 20.