Monday, August 4, 2008

Parking Supply/Demand: The Vicious Cycle

Abstracted from here:

One major problem with the current focus is that parking demand is tricky to pin down, since demand itself is a function of supply, especially in urban places. Those cities that have been busy ripping themselves apart to provide enough parking are the same ones that use the most parking. So we end up with this curious situation: in our state capital, Hartford, people complain that there is not enough parking - when in fact over 30 % of the surface area in the downtown area is covered with some type of parking facility.

The truth is that many cities like Hartford have simultaneously too much and too little parking. They have too much parking from the perspective that they have degraded vitality, interest and walkability, with bleak zones of parking that fragment the city. The have too little parking for the exact same reason - they have degraded walkability and thus increased the demand for parking.

See this quick map I put together showing surface parking lots within DTD in pink, parking structures (excluding subterranean and internalized structures - those garages integrated within a buildings envelope and secondary to its primary use are left off) in red:

Have you ever noticed that any place worth being in, parking is at a premium and not ubiquitous to the point that it's actually a hassle (or luxury) to have a car?
A 2003 study... [showed] ...the smaller parking supply is a key element, as it allows for the existence of a much more coherent urban place than would have otherwise been possible.