Parking Availability and Urban Viability

Automobile use and land consumption: Empirical evidence from 12 cities(Abstract, Christopher McCahill and Norman Garrick, Urban Design International, Autumn 2012)

Also discussed here: Cars and Robust Cities Are Fundamentally Incompatible(Chris McCahill and Norman Garrick, The Atlantic Cities, Feb 12, 2013)

And here: How too much parking hurt cities(Norman Garrick and Chris McCahill, Better Cities and Towns, Feb. 12, 2013)

Today we review a study that compares a number of mid-sized cities and the impact that the amount of parking space available has on the economic and by inference, the environment, by its effect on the number of people who chose to commute by car. The study also looked at the effect of cities that increase or reduce the parking available. The results indicate that the percent of people who drive increased by 10% if the parking increased by 2,500 sq. meters per 1000 people. Downtown space – as much as 20-30 % of the urban area- that could have been used for people to live and walk to work is used for parking cars. Cities with abundant parking space encourage more people to drive than use public transit– the option of choice for low income population. Cities than have reduced the amount of parking have seen significant economic improvements for downtown businesses as well as less traffic and less pollution. If demand pricing (for parking rates as we have seen in San Francisco or for peak road use as we have seen in Stockholm) is added along with reduced parking space, it would seem to further encourage the shift from driving to transit and walking.

parking in urban areas

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE


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