The More People Live and Work in Central Philly, the Less Parking They Use

Here’s a great example of a “virtuous cycle” in action: Center City Philadelphia has seen the number of parking spaces decline recently as population and jobs continue to rise at a healthy clip.

If everyone who worked in Central City Philadelphia drove to work, it would take 28 Comcast Towers full of parking to accommodate them all. Photo: Wikipedia
If everyone who worked in Central City Philadelphia drove to work, it would take 28 Comcast Towers full of parking to accommodate them all. Photo: Wikipedia

You might expect one result to be a downtown parking crunch, but that’s not the case at all, reports Jim Saksa at Plan Philly:

If everyone drove to work in Center City, how much parking would we need?

According to a new report from the Center City District: 2.6 square miles of surface parking. The size of William Penn’s 1682 plan for the city? 2.2 miles.

Visualize that another way: If you were to build parking garages the size of the Comcast Center, you’d need 28 of them.

If everyone drove to work in Philly, parking spaces would crowd out the actual places of employment. In other words: Transit matters.

That’s the takeaway from Center City District’s latest report, which examined where the region works and how people commute.

Over the past few years, Philadelphia has been growing and Center City has led the way. Jobs in Center City grew 5 percent between 2010 and 2014, and residents increased 7.9 percent. At the same time, though, Center City lost parking: more than 3,000 spaces. Yet, at the same time, parking availability actually increased. The ineluctable conclusion: More Philadelphians are walking, biking and taking transit to work than ever before.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Political Environment reports that after an unprecedented $6 billion road expansion binge, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says he doesn’t support raising taxes to bring existing roads into good condition. Seattle Transit Blog says the premium people pay for land near light rail stations in Seattle is a sign the city needs to expand transit. And the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia gives an overview of last week’s Better Bike Share conference, which explored “what’s working, what isn’t, and how bike share can be a transportation tool for everyone.”

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