Network Roundup: Building Trains Is Hard, Building Parking Is Easy

Here’s a snapshot of what’s happening around the Streetsblog Network today: headaches and heartbreaks on the way to passenger rail, smooth sailing for parking developments:

This illustrated rendering of a new mixed-use apartment complex in Chicago's Wrigleyville is being sold as transit-oriented development, though it would have twice the required parking spaces. Image: ##http://transitized.com/2013/08/15/wrigleyville-development-to-add-500-parking-spaces-to-neighborhood/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Transitized+%28Transitized%29## Transitized##

Wisconsin Paying a High Price for Passenger Rail Refusal: James Rowen at Network blog The Political Environment points out that Amtrak’s Hiawatha Line is breaking ridership records, despite Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s refusal of $810 million in federal funds to connect the line to Madison. Upgrades to Midwest intercity passenger rail, thanks to President Obama’s high-speed rail initiatives, are making cities throughout that region better connected. The rail connection between Chicago and the Twin Cities could soon be competitive with driving, and faster than flying, when you consider total travel time, a local writer says. Watertown, Wisconsin Mayor Ron Krueger says Governor Walker’s “decision will hurt the state of Wisconsin for decades to come.”

500 New Parking Spaces for Chicago’s Wrigleyville: A 500-space parking garage is planned for Chicago’s Wrigleyville area, reports Shaun Jacobsen at Network blog Transitized. The Addison Clark on Park apartment complex is being sold as transit-oriented development; it sits less than 600 feet from a CTA station. However, it has nearly twice the required amount of parking. Even the minimum allowed, 273, is “far too many for a dense neighborhood like Lakeview,” says Jacobsen. “The nature of the development is walkable by design — storefronts at the sidewalk, apartments above — so why is the developer planning to add so much parking?”

A Streetcar fight in Minneapolis: In Minneapolis, a skirmish of sorts has broken out between city and regional transportation planners over a streetcar proposal for the city’s northeast side. The Twin Cities’ regional planning body, Met Council, is balking at Minneapolis’ plans to use regional transportation funds for the project, which critics say is more about  development.

Bill Lindeke at Network blog Streets.mn says it’s an example of the controversy that frequently surrounds streetcar projects: “On the one hand, detractors argue that streetcars are little more than gimmicks, cute but expensive projects that have some sort of svengali-like hold over yuppies (which is why developers like them so much). They’re inflexible, slow, and costly, and the money would be far better spent on buses. On the other hand, streetcar supporters (like myself) argue that they provide advantages beyond illusions of permanence. They’re quiet, spacious, and offer smoother rides. I’ve heard them called ‘pedestrian accelerators’ that catalyze walkable cities while calming traffic.”

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Tall Buildings Don’t Cause Congestion, Parking Garages Do

|
There’s a big development project happening in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood on the site of a former hospital. The developer has proposed some senior housing, some retail and a luxury housing complex — along with 194 parking spaces to go along with an existing 850-space garage nearby. Some of the typical concerns about traffic were […]

Minneapolis May Drop Parking Minimums Near Transit

|
Whether you own a car or not, if you live in a city, there’s a good chance you pay for parking. Building parking spots is expensive, but most cities require developers to build a certain amount of parking per residence, driving up the cost of housing. Nick Magrino at Streets.mn reports that Minneapolis is rethinking that […]

Parking Madness: Vancouver vs. Rutland

|
Welcome to day two of the 2016 Parking Madness tournament. Yesterday, the assortment of surface parking between the Capitol and Union Station in Washington crushed the parking lots that greet people entering downtown Burlington, Vermont. Today pits “Vancouver’s upscale shopping mall” against the parking crater by the train station in “Vermont’s second city,” Rutland. Vancouver, BC The parking crater around the Oakridge […]

Chicago’s Parking Requirements Are an Out-of-Date Relic

|
The good news: Demand for parking spaces is down among residents of central Chicago. But here’s the bad news: The city of Chicago still requires lots of parking. That hurts everyone, whether they live in those buildings or not, says Ryan Richter at new Network blog Transport Nexus: At Lakeshore East, a development of mixed […]