More Urban Developers Question the Wisdom of Building Parking

A San Francisco developer made headlines a few weeks ago when it offered tenants $100 a month toward Uber and BART in an attempt to reduce the usage of on-site parking.

A San Francisco development will give you $100 a month toward Uber and transit if you forego the parking space. Image: ParkMerced
To help tenants give up their cars and parking spaces, a San Francisco developer offers $100 a month toward Uber and transit. Image: ParkMerced

Brandon G. Donnelly at Network blog Architect this City says this type of arrangement will be increasingly common in cities where building parking attached to housing makes less and less sense:

When I was at the Land & Development conference earlier this month, one developer brought up this exact point. He more or less asked: If you’re starting development on a new building today and you’re expecting approvals in 2 or so years and completion in another 3 or 4 years, what do you think the state of cars/driving will be at that point? Should you really be building all that underground parking?

These are great questions. And they highlight one of the challenges of development. It takes a long time to bring new supply to the market and a lot can change during that time period. My sense is that we are pretty clearly seeing downward pressure on driving and car ownership.

That said, this isn’t the case in every city or in all parts of a particular city. I just got back from a trip to a Detroit where it’s pretty hard to imagine the city being oriented around anything but the car. But in cities like San Francisco and Toronto, car-free living is already a reality for many people and so we need to respond to that.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Transportation for America reports that TIGER program has sailed through the Congressional appropriations process this year without the usual threats to cut its funding. Bike Pittsburgh says its most recent open streets event turned out a record 20,000 people. And Streets.mn documents the sad and dangerous conditions for pedestrians in parts of Minneapolis. 

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Alan Durning is the executive director and founder of Sightline Institute, a think tank on sustainability issues in the Pacific Northwest. This article, originally posted on Sightline’s blog, is #9 in their series, “Parking? Lots!” Have you ever watched the excavation that precedes a tall building? It seems to take forever. Then, when the digging […]

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