Fix Parking Craters With a Parking Tax

Like many American cities, and maybe more than most, downtown Atlanta is riddled with surface parking lots that return little value in terms of revenue or curb appeal.

Image: ATLUrbanist
Photo: ATLUrbanist

The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition recently noted there’s an idea gaining momentum that could change incentives for land owners: a tax assessed either on the owners of parking spaces or the drivers who use them. Riffing off the bike coalition’s post, Darin at ATLUrbanist says:

A satellite image is all it takes to see the damage: here’s a small sample of the surface parking surrounding the Garnett MARTA Station in Downtown Atlanta. Imagine what this could be instead and what kind of good this land could do for the city’s livability — and what it could do for the tax base — this area around a transit station was something other than this.

The writer of the [Atlanta Bike Coalition] post is suggesting the tax mainly as a new source of city revenue, which is a good idea, but I think it could also spur redevelopment. The tax could encourage property owners to redevelop these blocks — or at least we’d end up with a new revenue stream that makes people think twice about the convenience of driving.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Minus Car Project gets excited about mileage-based car insurance rates, until he reads the fine print. Parksify implores cities to stop ticketing pedestrians. And Streets.mn explores the controversy around streetcar projects in the Twin Cities area.

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Curb Appeal

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Alan Durning is the executive director of Sightline. This post is #15 in the Sightline series, Parking? Lots! Imagine if you could put a meter in front of your house and charge every driver who parks in “your” space. It’d be like having a cash register at the curb. Free money! How much would you collect? Hundreds […]