The original 'One-Square Mile' here in DTMesa has over 5,300 parking spaces. The first question anyone asks about new construction is What about free parking spaces?
Parking Spaces of the Future
Developers are monetizing empty parking areas even as they build adaptable new ones for fewer drivers.
Imagining A Future City Filled With Driverless Cars And Without Any Parking Spaces
Explore Parking Space, Future City, and more!
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This post starts off with two impulses about cars and parking - or even before that when downtown streets on the original grid-plan by Mormon prophet Joseph Smith for the New Zion, later named Mesa, were designed to accommodate extra-wide turns by 12-team oxen. Not 40 years later 'horseless carriages' took over the roads - automobiles then ruled the roads and still do . . . New highways and freeways and inter-states took the traffic and commerce off Main Street in urban cities driving car-dominated growth to what is called sprawling sub-urbia and commuter culture. So here we are with a hang-over glut of large tracts of asphalt-topped 'parking spaces' downtown, empty and unused most of the time. They're now prized as land-banks by developers for urban in-fill projects, along with large tracts of empty land cleared by demolition of 'eye-sores' for what was called urban renewal.
Now we are faced with imagining a creative disruption of the last century's status quo with a question that lingers: Where do we go from here?
Here are some initiatives from other places in the first source linked to above. Their point-of-view is that of executive developers for multi-family housing
1. A Common Occurrence
As amazing as Veltri’s sum total of $7 million in found valuation is, what made it possible isn’t that uncommon. Driving habits have changed. Millennials are applying for fewer driver’s licenses than past generations, and they own fewer cars. They favor ride sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft, and with the advent of driverless cars on the horizon, the trend is expected to grow. Given all those reasons, many apartment operators say they’re seeing less demand for—and use of—parking spaces at their properties today.
While that’s not necessarily the case in all markets, it’s prevalent enough that it’s changing the way multifamily pros design and think about parking.
While some are trying to monetize the surplus parking they’ve already built, others are looking at how to build less parking today, or construct new garages in ways that can be adapted to other uses in the future, such as mini-storage, office space, or even more apartment space. And in some cases, they’re forgoing parking in new construction almost completely
2. Buildings Versus Pavement
As the move toward reurbanization has spread in recent years, and a community’s Walk Score has become just as much of an amenity for residents as anything developers can put inside a building, cities have started to recognize the decreased use of cars and, hence, the need for less parking.
Cities have also recognized the cost that high parking ratios can saddle on a project. Developers say parking’s price tag ranges from $15,000 all the way to $90,000 per space for structured parking, with $35,000 a ballpark average.
“Structured parking, depending on the complexity, type of construction, and market, can get very expensive, very quickly,” Doyle says. “Every parking space you have to provide takes away from what else you can do with the rest of the building. So cities aren’t getting caught up anymore in forcing you to have two spaces for every residential unit.”
3. 8 Spots for Every Car
That new stance by municipalities has been driven, at least partially, by the results of the feasibility studies developers must undertake when they propose their projects. “The traffic consultants are coming back with data that show reduced demand,” says Jeff Michael, COO at Chicago-based Horizon Realty Group, which owns 25 communities and 2,000 units. “Cities are listening to the data they’re seeing.”
And yet, while those studies show less demand today, the legacy of high parking ratios from the past is showing up now in parking lots across the country. There are three to eight parking spaces already built for every vehicle in the U.S., according to a 2011 report from the University of California. That means America’s historic love affair with the auto has resulted in some markets having plenty of spots for cars, but not enough housing for the people who actually drive them.
4. Future Use
Developers aren’t just looking at how they can monetize surplus parking today. . , Falcone says he’s trying to plan for alternative uses for both his existing and future parking structures, such as mini-storage, so he can continue to monetize them over time.
“We’re in 11 different cities, and, in most, we’re doing less parking,” Falcone says. “But where we’re unable to convince the city or county that you need less parking today, we’re engineering these garages so we can do something different with them later.”
Amy Korte, principal at Boston-based architecture firm Arrowstreet, says, increasingly, that’s a request she gets from clients. “We’re really questioning how we can adapt [parking space] in the future to an alternative use,” she says.
In fact, in Boston, there’s already a parking garage developers are fighting over, with the hope of converting it to other uses. “Think about it as creative destruction,” says Stephen Davis, vice president, development, at Boston-based Davis Cos., which has acquired or developed 7,000 apartments in the Eastern U.S. “We’re getting rid of excess parking, taking out some levels, and then using it as a building podium. I think that’s an interesting snapshot of the change in the urban setting, and vehicle use in general.”
5. Drive On
Whatever the parking situation in your market, one thing you can be sure of is it will change, just as the current generation of residents has changed what it means to own a car in America.
“For previous generations, the car was a symbol of their personality, provided a sense of freedom, and was another indicator of having ‘made it,’ ” says David Senden, principal at Irvine, Calif.–based KTGY Architecture + Planning. “Renters today look at all that goes into auto dependency and have a great desire to be rid of the car.”