Monday, June 3, 2013

After reading the article from the link below, also found at titled, Mapping the Subtle Science of Parking Demand, I had a few takeaways to share. First, parking is by no means a local or regional issue, it’s national. The “business as usual’ manner in which developers overbuild parking is prevalent across the country. Of course, we really shouldn’t be blaming developers as they are often hamstrung by jurisdictional minimum parking requirements.

Another take away, or actually comment, is how we typically make assumptions about the need for parking rather than base decisions on data. In the example from the article, King County Washington, they decided to collect the needed data rather than continue to make the same and oft incorrect assumption. To determine peak residential demand for parking, meaning how much parking is in use from midnight to 5 am, King County staff went out and counted. Although this seems rather simple or trivial, it seems all too common for agencies to use out-of-date data rather than spend the time and money to collect their own.

Lastly, the issue of parking isn’t going away anytime soon. Rather it will continue to be a hotly contested and important issue in the design and use of our urban environment. Transportation planners, transit agencies, and elected officials should all take note that parking will grow in relevance in the coming years. As the availability of urban lands shrink, the use of brownfields continues to be cost prohibitive in most cases, and urban infill projects grow in popularity so will the issue parking.

Planners across the country should consider the importance parking to the future of their respective jurisdictions and the potential tax dollars that are foregone due to overbuilt and underutilized parking. This blog post was edited by Ahmed Tashkandi.

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