That parking minimums are in place near New York City’s subway stations is “madness,” said Walter Hook, executive director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.
In most European cities, he said, parking minimums have been replaced with parking maximums that keep developers “to those levels of parking which the traffic system can bear.” In many downtowns, he continued, there is a hard cap on the total amount of parking. “You can’t actually add a single unit of off-street parking unless you take out a parking space from the street,” Hook explained.
Across Europe, cities have come to understand that oversupply or subsidy of parking leads to too much driving. The effect is considerable. In Vienna, for example, when the city began to charge for on-street parking, the number of vehicle kilometers traveled plummeted from 10 million annually to 3 million.
in the words of the British government, to “promote sustainable transport choices, reduce the land-take of development, enable schemes to fit into central urban sites, promote linked-trips and access to development for those without use of a car, and to tackle congestion.”
The reality is a bit less romantic. The honey bees responsible for pollinating major U.S. crops are loaded on trucks, wrapped in plastic and driven hundreds if not thousands of miles to where they are needed. They are often fed high fructose corn syrup to give them the energy to accomplish their Herculean tasks. Think of it: Feeding corn syrup to a honey bee. That, surely, is nature turned on her head.
Vacant lots in the middle of cities are spurring all kinds of temporary uses, from guerrilla gardens to public art. And one of the most interesting experiments is happening in San Francisco, with a project that is the first of its kind in the US. In the Hayes Valley neighborhood, two blocks at the end of Octavia Boulevard are being transformed into a festive combination dubbed Proxy, a temporary grouping of restaurants, retail shops, and outdoor gathering spaces. The mini-cluster is designed to give way to other permanent developments in a few years.