Posted in highways, tagged parking on November 8, 2012 |
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The next time merchants in your downtown demand another parking garage because of the parking “shortfall” you can recommend a radically simple solution: Shrink the size of the parking stall.
Whereas the size of a standard American parallel-parking spot is 23 to 24′ long, in the UK it is more like 20′. In France (and much of continental Europe) it is 18′.
Just imagine if the parking spots in crowded downtown areas were reduced by 6′ — that increases parking utilization by a whopping 25%.
Oh, but what about the poor SUV drivers who can’t fit their Lincoln Navigator into an 18′ stall? Well, so what? Why should cities reduce their parking supply by 1/4 to accommodate oversized SUV’s? And in any case, anyone who can afford to gas up an SUV can pay to park their vehicle in an offstreet garage.
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Posted in planning, tagged parking on January 23, 2012 |
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Let’s say you are a developer, doing an infill project in an area of considerable transit and walking potential. What possible reason to include parking as part of the project? It reduces the total amount of floor area that can be leased/rented out. It can also be very expensive to build, if the parking is in a garage.
So I put this question to a developer of a major infill project — and I was stunned by his answer. I had assumed the reasons had to do with the local zoning rules, and the difficulty in getting a variance. Or perhaps he felt parking was needed to make the project marketable.
In fact, he totally agreed that the parking was expensive and unnecessary. The building was in a desirable location, and did not require offstreet parking. And yes, there were zoning requirements, but a variance would have been possible.
Nope, the reason had to do with the bank. The people doing the financing had a standard calculation for the minimum amount of parking. Without parking, their view is that projects are not economical, and did not want to risk a default on the construction loan.
Now, this could have been a unique situation with just one particular bank. But researching other infill projects, there does seem to be a trend. For example, here was one creative solution to the problem:
Tenants who wanted a space on-site paid a premium for it—usually between $150 and $250 a month. The price varied to ensure that some on-site parking spaces were available when one of the building’s luxury units became vacant). The parking spaces in the structure blocks away, meanwhile, were leased primarily to nonresidents—office workers and other downtown commuters. The primary purpose of that parking structure was to secure a construction loan.
So to all you activists working to minimize parking requirements in the General Plan for your downtown area — you are probably wasting your time. It is the banks you need to worry about, not the local zoning.
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Posted in automotive, tagged parking on July 12, 2011 |
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Lately, there is trend among “Big City” newspapers to feature columns catering to the suburbanites. Perhaps it is just a lame attempt to attract a more affluent demographic, but the columns have a boring predictability. Each week one can expect a gripe about the usual urban failings — lack of parking being the biggest complaint.
But even with that mind, this column from Chris Johnson deserves extra special mention for his gripe that the Oakland Coliseum should have provided parking for 70,000 U2 concert goers:
U2 fans who drove to the stadium assumed there would be ample parking for the event, and they were sadly mistaken. And Coliseum officials – and apparently BART operators – who assumed that Coliseum visitors were aware that parking options are limited and that BART always runs late for Coliseum events – didn’t hold up their end well either.
Pity the poor out-of-down yokels who didn’t know there was a modern train service, and tried to drive to a venue with limited parking.
Crowds Walking from BART Station to Coliseum
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Posted in automotive, tagged Berkeley, parking, Shoup on December 12, 2010 |
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To entice shoppers to drive their cars into its shopping districts, the city of Berkeley is having two parking holidays. Parking revenue averages $20-$50k per day, so the total cost of the parking subsidy could be as much as $100k.
Like most California cities, this has been a rough year for Berkeley’s budget. The police department is under-staffed, and a popular neighborhood pool was shuttered. And yet Berkeley, despite having a Climate Action Plan, despite having a Transit-First policy, will literally give away $100k in free parking.
What is really odd is why merchants would ask for such a thing. The whole point of parking meters is to encourage higher turn-over. This is a complete lose-lose proposition.
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