Can there be too much parking?

Too many parking spaces can have a negative impact on a city.

Just look at Detroit. Here’s an article on the DC Streetsblog that contrasts the cities of Detroit and Pittsburgh and how much parking exists in their downtowns. Compare the parking maps of the two cities and you will see a drastic difference.

Parking policies in Pittsburgh have discouraged people from commuting alone by car into the downtown area. The city charges a 40% tax on parking throughout the city. In 2006 it was reported that the city was making more from the parking taxes than it was receiving from taxing resident income.

Detroit has no tax on parking although it is pointed out that this is not the only reason for all the parking in downtown. Parking lots are taxed at a much lower rate than buildings so there is not much incentive to build anything on the land. It was also pointed out in the article that Detroit has a “pitiful transit system.”

And which city is doing better? Well, it’s certainly not Detroit.

Another article on the DC Streetsblog reports that Cincinnati is reforming their parking policies and would eliminate or reduce parking requirements for many residential developments.

The “cities that manage the parking supply wisely have bolstered their downtowns.”

As well as the cities that have good public transit. They go hand in hand.



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