Friday, September 28, 2012

Eliminating Parking Requirements - Easier Said Than Done

English: Bronaugh Apartments at ‎1434 Southwes...
English: Bronaugh Apartments at ‎1434 Southwest Morrison Street in Portland, Oregon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many transit advocates look to parking requirements and say that eliminating the need for so many parking spaces when new buildings are built that it would have a positive affect on transit ridership by encouraging those who live and work in those buildings to ride transit instead of driving.

The theory is that you make parking so difficult or have so few spaces that people would rather take the bus, streetcar, or light rail than have a car that they have to pay for parking or waste time finding a parking spot.

While the concept of eliminating parking sounds like a wonderful idea, sadly it is much harder to implement reduced or no parking requirements than it sounds. Currently there is several apartment buildings in the Portland, Oregon area that are either in the design stages or under construction that include no on site parking for the tenants. The hope is that the people who move into these buildings will look to using transit instead of driving a car.

The problem occurs with the neighbors surrounding these buildings as they worry that all the parking in front of their homes will be taking up parking spots on their street. One of the controversial buildings is located on the MAX Yellow Line in the area near the Overlook station.

Of course there is two ways to look at the worry's of the neighbors  You could look at it as people worried that resident of these new apartments will take up all the parking in their neighborhood and there will be no spaces left for anyone else. The other side of the argument is that we have become so accustomed to having all the parking we need for free that we cannot handle not having it handed to use on a silver platter.

One of the major obstacles faced by advocates is to get the general public to look at parking differently than they currently do. While it may not be an easy thing to do, over time a paradigm shift can occur that will open up people to the idea that parking requirements. Today parking is something that is expected and people can not comprehend that a reduction in it will be successful.

However, I can tell you from personal experience that apartments with no parking have existed for more than a hundred years, continue to exist and gasp, people actually survive. As I have mentioned previsouly I grew up in Pasadena/South Pasadena area of California. That's right in automobileville itself  the Los Angeles area before there was a Gold Line to Pasadena or an alternative to the Southern California not so Rapid Transit District.

As I mentioned before, I spent many years growing up in an apartment complex with a small grocery store around the corner. Most of my block was made up of apartment buildings except for a few large homes directly across the street from our apartment. The amazing thing was that most of the apartments did not have any on site parking. That's right folks even the buildings that where built in the 50 and 60's did not have any parking attached.

To make this situation even more shocking was that only one side of the our road had on street parking because it was so narrow. Now if you would listen to the profits of doom these new complexes in Portland will be the end of the world. However, from personal experience I can tell you that they do work and over time people will get used to the situation.

However, one thing to take into consideration is transit access. These type of complexes must be on major bus lines, in fact the priority should be to put these where at least one frequent service bus or rail line runs and preferable at the intersection of two frequent services lines to provide the maximum benefit to those that live in the complexes.

Eventually cities like Portland can get even more aggressive about elimating parking requirements. It will take and will have to be well planned as it has worked in the past, it works today in many areas, and will work even more in the future.
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1 comment:

Ross Taylor said...

It's attractive Apartments at Southwest Morrison Street in Portland, Such a beautiful area, now there are several apartments rentals in this area. There is no parking flours or on street, so there need to parking. That's are either in the style levels or under development which consist of no on site vehicle parking for the renters. The wish is that the individuals who shift into these structures will look to using transportation instead of parking a car. It's a big street, so there is no issue for traffic. I like this apartments and this around area. Market Research Reports