Daily Durning found another Great Mistake to add to the list, from Streetsblog: 

Parking spaces are everywhere, but for some reason the perception persists that there’s “not enough parking.” And so cities require parking in new buildings and lavishly subsidize parking garages, without ever measuring how much parking exists or how much it’s used.

Now new research presents credible estimates of the total parking supply in several American cities for the first time. The report from Eric Scharnhorst at the Research Institute for Housing America, an arm of the Mortgage Bankers Association, provides city-level evidence of the nation’s massively overbuilt parking supply and the staggering cost to the public [PDF].

Scharnhorst states:

After decades of requiring parking for new construction, car storage has become the primary land use in many city areas.

In Seattle, one-third of the city’s parking supply is located in downtown garages.  … the parking occupancy rate downtown is 64 percent. …

Scharnhorst concludes that cities should change course, and that in places with excessive parking developers should “allocate capital to non-parking uses” — a.k.a. housing, commercial buildings, and, in general, the sorts of things that make cities habitable for people instead of cars.

Images: Research Institute for Housing America


    1. Thomas – I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment. Street parking is an awful use of public spece!

  1. I am loathe to agree with Beyer, but I loathe parked cars even more – this mechanical infestation of our public space.
    I am an idiot in that I park our 25-year-old nothing car in a garage – but the garage is also a pantry, space for bicycles, tools, and my closet with at least 20 pairs of shoes. But it’s not in anyone’s face, and I pay for the privilege.
    Meanwhile, there is always someone parking for free in front of our house: the tenants from across the street in their noisy skanky car; the AirBnbrs from next door – all free.
    Parking on residential streets should cost dearly.

  2. Thomas – I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment. Street parking is an awful use of public spece!

  3. Heard a neighbour yelling at another for parking in front of his house – it was quite heated. It’s hard to be overly sympathetic because one of the properties has 4 cars – all parked on the street; the other has 2. Considering three of us park in our garages, there has been a lot of free space. What precipitated the bottleneck is another neighbour who started parking a large commercial truck on the street. I’ve called enforcement a few times over the past few days and it will eventually get ticketed. Parking peace will reign again.
    I wish I had dibs on actually renting the space in front of our house – to keep it vacant, or to sub-lease.

    1. Actually, the second house has 3 vehicles – their tenant has one, so 2 houses infest the street with 7 vehicles. A previous neighbour (good riddance and a plague on you and your progeny), running a business out of his house, had 6 + employees and visitors.
      We live 4 min walk from Skytrain and 2 min walk to a 24/hr bus stop. There are also competing carshare companies. Nobody here needs to own a car. It’s stupid, but so ingrained, so inculcated by advertising, that people feel sheepish saying they don’t own one.
      It is changing. My daughter will never own a car. Can’t say the same for my son. Guys are idiots about cars.
      If all vehicles had meters, usage would drop dramatically. It’s currently a buffet – people always pig out at buffets.

  4. I disagree with the central premise of this post. The parkade of my condo is pretty much full, with people looking to rent a space. Pretty broad demographic of owners. People still require parking even close to downtown.

    1. In a study of West End parking, city determined that there were 1.5 spaces for every car. If you live in the West End, your building might be full but the one next door may have 100 free spots. Same is true for public parking downtown. That is why new developments have lower parking requirements for cars and more for bikes.

      1. Yeah, West End parking seems to be more of a failure to provide additional transportation options.

        Bike storage would be nice, but I’m more concerned about the giant empty rectangle between the #5, the #6, and the C21 – perhaps we could have additional routes on Jervis and Nelson/Comox?

      2. I expect a lot of that to be the result of the city charging too low a rate for street parking. And of course the whole idea for many living in the appeal of being able to walk to work. However, that is changing, I wonder how many owners of the multi-million dollar condos in The Butterfly care about walking to work, or working in Vancouver at all?

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