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Parking Structure Design Guidelines

Where are the policies located?Pyramid_SonoranDesertDGs

The policies may be viewed at:

  • the Planning and Design Library at the Community Design Studio, 7506 E Indian School Road
  • The Records Counter, 7447 E Indian School Road, Ste 105

What is it?

These guidelines are the specific parking structure design objectives of the Citywide Design Guidelines. They include design guidance for scale, bulk and mass, the visual dominance, wall planes, lighting, landscaping, and inactive frontages.

Where does it apply?

Citywide, applied to new development, redevelopment, and major renovation projects. (The Downtown area has its own specific guidelines)

Who needs to use it?

Residents and neighborhoods, Development Review Board (DRB), City staff, developers and property owners, all those involved in the development review process.

Why was it developed?

In response to increasing concerns about the quality and character of design in the community, the City Council, Planning Commission, and Development Review Board (DRB) directed staff to prepare design guidelines for a range of development types.

Key Points:

  1. Clearly delineate a distinct base, middle, and top for the parking structures. The visual "weight" of the structure should decrease as the height increases. In taller structures, step upper levels of parking back and incorporate irrigated terraced planters with appropriate hardy plant material.
  2. Where parking structures and pedestrian areas adjoin, the exterior edge of the parking structure should exhibit a high level of architecture detail such as decorative grill work, overhead trellises, tree canopy, planter/seat walls, pedestrian scaled lighting and the application of materials and textures that establish a comfortable and well proportioned human scale. Storefronts or alternate uses and enhanced landscape treatments can help "soften" the structure. Other sides of parking structures should also be landscaped with increasing intensity the more visible the parking structure is from surrounding uses. Parking structure walls facing residential areas should minimize openings to avoid noise and light impacts.
  3. Strive to eliminate glare and visibility of pole mounted light fixtureson upper decks of parking structures by employing full cut-off fixtures and minimizing pole heights. Lights should be limited to 16 feet and be located between internal parking rows rather than at the structure's perimeter. Lighting should be planned at the minimum level required for security of areas used only during peak hours (upper decks or remote surface parking areas).
  4. Design above grade parking structures to reduce their apparent mass. Define stair towers and elevator cores to be distinct taller masses that intersect the mass of the main structure. Internalized ramping in parking structures is encouraged to avoid an angular geometry to the perimeter of the structure.
  5. The exterior design of a structure should minimize its visual identity as parking by disrupting the monotony of its underlying structure system through wall mass and window opening and through variations in color, material, and/or texture.

References and related documents: