TOURIST PARKING AND
BACKGROUND: More than 7,000,000 visitors per year make tourism Galveston’s largest industry. Tourists visit Galveston for its more than 30 miles of beaches, historic districts, and unique attractions. Following the devastation of Hurricane Ike in 2008, tourism has made a strong resurgence and has developed a top regional and national reputation. Along with these visitors comes traffic congestion on weekends and other times that do not coincide with traditional commuter peak periods. Up to 90,000 vehicles accessing Galveston Island over the causeway from I-45 on peak tourist days often leads to gridlock on some local streets and long delays on others. Dealing with severe congestion discourages visitors, taints their impression of Galveston, and increases idling which, therefore, increases air pollution.
ROLE: TGC devised a mobility strategy based on diverting as many local trips as possible out of automobiles through a program called Park Once which provides guidance to preferred parking facilities allowing visitors to transfer to frequent transit services (through themed rail and rubber-tire trolleys) to access key attractions throughout the city. Subsequent trips between attractions are also carried on transit until finally returning the visitors to their cars.
EARLY IMPLEMENTATION: Even as the data was being analyzed, the first two rubber-tire trolley routes were implemented along with extensive bus stop amenities. City Council is currently deciding the best methods, among the several TGC suggestions, to incentivize the needed growth in parking supply over the next five years. The goal for expanded parking is to enter into public private partnerships to provide new spaces in conjunction with new or expanded tourist attractions and facilities.
ONGOING EXECUTION: TGC’s in-depth analysis led to recommendations regarding parking options, expanded/modified shuttle routes, destinations to be served, operating policies, marketing strategies, and tax incentives for creating partnerships with private developers for parking and economic development opportunities.
Tourist Travel Patterns
Focus Group Feedback
Advanced Parking Guidance Systems Rubber-Tire Trolley Service Planning Rail Trolley Service Planning
Parking Site Selection
Marketing and Customer Interface Programming
Economic Development Tools Implementation and Funding Strategy
2016 – 2018
Name: David Smith
Title: City Executive Director
Phone: (409) 797-3929