Smart Parking
Case Study

Suburban Case Study
Middleborough Town Center
Middleborough Town Center
Middleborough, MA

Middleborough is a small town that boasts a handful of two to three-story commercial buildings within its town center. In an effort to restore economic activity to its downtown area, the city changed its zoning to allow residential uses on the upper floors of its multi-story commercial buildings. After implementing this zoning change, the town realized that its existing commercial lots could not handle the additional on-site parking demand. The focus of Middleborough's smart parking policy has therefore been to increase the flexibility of on-site requirements for residential parking within the town center.

How Smart Parking Works in Middleborough

To address the lack of available on-site parking for its new residential uses, the city amended its zoning in 2000 to increase flexibility for residential parking to be located in off-site facilities. The amendment stipulates that residential uses on the second and third stories of downtown buildings may have their parking requirements met through off-site facilities no more the ¼ mile away. Thus far, all the off-site parking facilities used within this zoning amendment have been owned and operated by the town. One concern of local businesses has been the possibility of decreased parking availability for their customers due to residents taking up more spaces. However, Middleborough officials report that that the additional residential usage has had a negligible impact on the availability of commercial parking downtown.

This small change to the town zoning bylaw has resulted in numerous benefits to the town's residents and businesses. The new residents in the town center have contributed to the town's economy through increasing downtown customers, increasing activity in the town center, and increasing the property value of downtown buildings. Additionally, using publicly controlled parking for the new upper story apartments has helped secure four different Housing Development Support Grants that will aid in providing additional affordable housing within the town center. Middleborough provides an excellent example of how a simple change to the regulations can contribute to a smarter approach to parking and advance the community's interests.