More! That's the scream of merchants and others who believe that a downtown without an endless sea of parking is not worth going to. But once the whole downtown turns into a parking lot it's not really worth much anymore is it? Yet we still see the discussion of parking dominate without an eye for the destruction that it can cause a downtown if left unfettered.
Before Portland's miraculous return as an urban Mecca, it too was once infested by parking. So was the city of Houston, where parking lots took over most of the downtown at one point.
Via Mike Lydon and Transit Miami (Via the book City Shaped)
Perhaps you can say how different this is from Rotterdam after German bombing...
It's unfortunate that we didn't see what we were doing to our wonderful cities in the name of cars first. Europe had war, yet we dismantled our cities in a similar way in the name of progress. So much parking though, what has that done to the city's value? What has it taken away in terms of tax revenue from land and greater employment agglomerations? A study by Anne Moudon and Dohn Wook Sohn showed that offices that were clustered had greater values than those that weren't in the Seattle region. In addition to the spending on highways that expanded our regions to their current far reaches, how much real estate value did we destoy?
Greater value for downtowns was lost and in the process we saw places like Hartford, as found by Dr. Norm Garrick at UConn lose population, employment, and their character. Not just the loss from parking, but from the gutting of the city by the Interstate System. Here are some slides from Dr. Garrick showing the destruction. When he toggled through the first time, the room I was in audibly gasped for air.
Hartford Pre Interstate
Hartford Post Interstate
So what's the damage? The amount of tax creating employment did not grow and parking spots skyrocketed.
So in aggregate what did this look like? The red shows it all:
Lost revenue, lost agglomeration, lost value. Will these examples teach us a lesson about too much parking? Perhaps