Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Parking Calamity and Understanding Evolution

Sounds like a weird juxtaposition no?

I just received an email about parking in Dallas which essentially was a suggestion for what the city should do as it reinvestigates its antiquated and overly generic parking code. You may remember my 13-page paper on parking or if not, you can get acquainted to it here:

I recommend instead, reading my short response to the email, which summarizes the key issues (and the solutions apparently not even being thought about) in a few brief statements:
There really shouldn't be any mandatory "tie" from units to parking. Parking minimums are a guarantee of/substitute for mobility. If mobility is guaranteed otherwise, why should there be any minimums at all?

The one space per bedroom is not forward thinking enough, nor (and more importantly) is it place-based. That is market-rate TODAY and we'll just end up revisiting it in the near future. There should not be a single code or number. It has to be place-based and flexible/adaptable. For example, what if a developer wants to get creative and build 30 condos. With each condo, everybody gets a free vespa. That's a 1500/investment or so rather than the 10K or so for parking, to provide similar mobility. The parking is taken care of by on-street spaces (which are flexible and fluid within a neighborhood). Sure, no covered parking might turn people off, but no development is ever all things to all people (nor should they be). Market self-selects and developers are/ought to be the best expert in meeting certain market segments. Blanket codes ensure a lack of creativity necessary for evolving neighborhoods and producing neighborhoods that are complete ecologies.

And it shouldn't be a pain in the ass to do something "better" than code which is provide less parking than code requires.

Addendum for the blog:
On the other hand, there really ought to be maximum parking standards (basically what is minimum today). The reason is one of, yes, property rights and "takings," a decidedly unfancy legal term describing that what one person does on their piece of land cannot negatively effect the value and ability to sell of your property. Too much parking most definitely negatively effects the public realm and therefore overall value of a place. Pretty much just go anywhere in all of Dallas to see this in live 3D action.