Traffic and Parking Requirements for Development Projects
Development projects must minimize their impact on local traffic and street parking, and follow the city’s design guidelines for driveways or garages.
Development projects often require review from a traffic engineer as part of the project development process. The traffic engineer will evaluate the project’s impact on vehicle traffic and street parking, and ensure off-street parking meets design requirements. You may be required to prepare reports documenting the environmental, traffic, or parking impacts of your project.
Impact on driving and traffic
The City will review development projects to determine:
- Will this development cause people to drive longer distances?
- Will this development impact traffic operations and safety in the surrounding streets?
To determine if the development project will cause people to drive longer distances, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) uses a metric called vehicle miles traveled. Vehicle miles traveled measures the average distance a person living or working in an area travels by car.
Development projects that will generate a rate of vehicle miles traveled that is less than 15% below the regional per capita average (in other words, above 85% of the regional average) are determined to have a significant environmental impact. These projects will need to identify mitigation measures. Learn more about this process in the VMT Criteria and Thresholds Guide.
To determine if the development project will impact traffic operations and safety in the surrounding streets, the City may request that you put together a transportation impact study. Developers and consultants should prepare the report in close coordination with City staff and using the guidelines.
Impact on street parking
Many development projects are required to include off-street parking spaces in their building plans. The off-street parking requirement aims to minimize the impact of new development on on-street parking in the neighborhood. The specific number of off-street parking spaces that a building needs to include vary by the building size and location.
Design guidelines for off-street parking
Developers should follow the City of Berkeley’s design guidelines for off-street parking:
The exceptions to these guidelines are:
- Compact car spaces can be 16 ft long rather than the usual 18 ft
- Disabled parking spaces must be 9 ft wide and have an adjacent aisle
Traffic engineering fees
The Traffic Engineering department will charge a minimum application fee of $90, with the price increasing based on project valuation. See the traffic engineering fee schedule for details. This fee covers up to two rounds of plan checks by a traffic engineer.
In addition, if you need to consult with a traffic engineer, you will need to pay service fees. These consultation fees are $200 hourly, charged per 15 minute increments. Some common types of consultation you might need are:
- Pre-application or walk-in requests for advice
- Review of your transportation impact study or CEQA environmental study
- Creation or post-construction monitoring of a traffic plan
- Review of your administrative use permit or use permit application that takes more than three hours