Cities and towns are constantly fretting about downtown parking. But what they often perceive as a "parking shortage" isn't caused by a lack of parking -- it's the result of poor management of the parking they already have. The upshot is that many cities, seeking cheap and plentiful car storage, pursue policies that make their parking and traffic problems worse, not better. Now a downtown Austin business coalition aims to chart a better course.
Pratt Street is a narrow, one-way block-long street in the heart of downtown Hartford, Connecticut, lined with red brick pavers and historic storefronts. It's also the latest street in the United States to go car-free, at least some of the time, as part of the city's first agreement to spend parking meter revenue on local streetscape improvements.