What Are We Going To Do With All That Parking?

It’s an interesting juxtaposition. As reported on Bike Portland, the City of Portland is trying to determine how much parking we need in corridors and centers.

At the same time Atlantic Cities is reporting on efforts by architects to figure out how to re-purpose unneeded parking into other uses, with the theme that we need to design our parking structures today so they have ‘good bones’ to assist future conversion.

I’m a little worried that the City is on the wrong track. Is government the right place to determine the ‘correct’ amount of parking, or is the market better positioned to do this (you can have as much parking as you’re prepared to pay for)?

The pivot point of course is on-street parking. I think many of the questions of sufficiency are really about protecting on-street parking resources. If that’s true, then let’s grab the bull by the horns and work out rational (and politically feasible) on-street parking management systems. Then I think we’d need to pay a lot less attention to (and build less) off-street parking.

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