Tag Archives: Land Use

Hamburg Parking Policies for New Land Development

Parking Requirements are set by the City of Hamburg since it is also the state.  There is a ratio for number of cars spaces and bike spaces  for dozens of land use types, (no requirement for  motorcycles).  The  parking requirements are  typically based on building floor area, but for some land uses, it is based on # units or number of seats. The parking ordinance also specifies the  % of this amount that is for the  “residents or employees “ or the visitors of the land use.  The permitted variations to the requirements set forth in the table are:

  1. In the “city center”, most uses are reduced to 25% exactly; no more no less can be provided (this does not apply to residential or hotels). There used to be three tiers of reduced parking but it was  discontinued about 7 years ago as it was difficult to administer.
  2. Residential parking can be reduced or eliminated if four conditions are present:
  • The building has at least 30 units
  • The residents sign a contract not to own a car (or it’s in their lease)
  • The building must be at a U bahn or S bahn station
  • Other concepts are incorporated to reduce need for car such exceptional bike parking, car sharing, no specific requirements, but there must have a strategy of some kind.

3. For office commercial sites, the number of parking spaces can be reduced on a sliding scale if at least 50% of employees are given a HVV transit pass; reduction begins at 5%,  and increases to 50 % if 90% of employees are given a pass.

4. For new theatres, if they have a contract with HVV that the ticket for the event also is valid on all public transportation to and from the event, they can reduce parking 50%.  There is also some sort of deal with existing theatres and but not quite sure what it is. Up to 50 % of new required parking can be shared with another nearby land use if the peak time periods do not overlap , for example an office and a theatre;  new rules will increase this to 80% .


  1. If there is no space for the required parking on the parcel or it is difficult to go underground due to the high water table in Hamburg, it is permitted to build parking up to 300 meters away, this will be increased to 500 meters.
  2. The developer can also contract with an existing public parking garage so that the spaces needed are permanently leased from the garage as part of the parking for this building.
  3. If the required parking is not provided or cannot be provided, they pay the city 10000 euro  per space in the city center and 6000 outside the city center.
  4. Finally if developer calculates that their project  won’t generate as much parking demand as the standards require, they may be allowed to have Stundung,  a temporary reprieve or delay to see if that really is the case. In five years, if they for example only have 20 employees for the business and 40 spaces were required, they do not have to provide the full amount. If however, they cannot verify their assumptions, then they need to  build it or they  have to pay as described  above.

Thanks to  Thorsten Gierenz, City of Hamburg, for explaining all this to me, any errors are my own. Thanks also to Arno Plentz, City of Hamburg for arranging this and other meetings while I was in Hamburg, a free and hanseatic city.

Four Main Issues to Investigate

The following  are the four issues of  land use and transportation that I will research for six case studies. Ideally, the cities have both commuter-rail and either light rail/ tram or metro transit systems.

1. Land Use: Are there maximum or minimum densities at sites nearest to the major transit stations? Is mixed use the norm or is it a special zone?

2. Traffic: Is there a CEQA transportation checklist equivalent? If so, what are the questions? If not, is the auto traffic generated by the project an issue? How are automobiles on the adjacent streets figured into the analysis of project approvals?

3. Parking: Are there minimum (or maximum) parking requirements and for which land uses under what circumstances? If the project has parking, how is the parking pricing set? For example, do residential units receive a parking space and if so, is there an additional charge for the space? ‘

4. Transit and bike access: Is new transit ridership and demands on transit service evaluated? What are bike and pedestrian access policies pertaining to the project? Is bike infrastructure (including bike parking) required to be built as part of the project? Are there incentives for promoting transit, bike and pedestrian access /circulation?

5. Followup Question. Do the answers to any of these questions vary depending on the proximity of the project to the rail transit stations?

Goal for the Fellowship

Land Development and Transportation Policies- 6 case studies

My goal for the fellowship is to investigate the key transportation considerations in the planning and approval of a land use development project in Europe. I hope to identify lessons learned about policies that hinder and those that facilitate successful projects near major rail/transit stations. I would then analyze these practices for their applicability in California. Since California is very auto-centric, it often seems as if the automobile conditions trump all the other considerations. I hope to improve the way development projects are analyzed and the resulting conditions which are imposed upon them, so that development needs and impacts are looked at more holistically rather than one mode at a time.

More about the German Marshall Fund’s Transportation, Land Use Fellowship can be found at www.gmfus.com/cdp

It’s Official

I will be leaving for Torino Italia on August 15th for the fellowship I received through the German Marshall Fund.

More later. Read more about it here:          www.gmfus.org/cdp