Future of Urban Parking Lots

Oct 14, 2016

Future of Urban Parking Lots

Many cities are at the crossroads when it comes to finding the best use for surface parking lots in urban core areas.

Will there be opportunities to rebuilt surface lots? Or will surface lots be turned into buildings?

These are questions a recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek explored. The article, “American Cities Are Haunted by Too Many Parking Spaces,” examined the challenges facing urban centers as the use of cars begins to drop off, leaving behind a sea of unused parking spaces, particularly in surface lots.

“American car culture may be declining, but much of our urban infrastructure remains steadfastly centered around the automobile.

Planning choices made in the heyday of car ownership may prove incompatible with a rising generation of consumers who seem remarkably disinterested in driving.” The article went on to point out that a new study determined car-focused cities lose considerable money on unused parking spaces that can be better utilized. “A pair of forthcoming studies by Garrick and several of his UConn colleagues examine the economic and sociological impacts of parking trends in six U.S. cities from 1960 to 2000.

They conclude that some car-centric cities forfeit more than a thousand dollars per parking space per year in potential municipal revenues by using land for parking rather than more lucrative alternatives. The researchers also found that minimum parking requirements inhibit development and exacerbate traffic by placing incentives on car use rather than on walking and cycling.” Read the rest of the article here. So what should cities do? Revisit tax incentives? Re-examine minimum parking requirements? Tell us below.