Author Topic: How Parking Lots Became the Scourge of American Downtowns  (Read 1868 times)

thelakelander

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How Parking Lots Became the Scourge of American Downtowns
« on: June 20, 2014, 06:53:44 AM »


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The downtowns of many American cities are hollowed out by the disastrous impacts of planning events that took place decades ago. These blank spots muffle urban life, deadening the surrounding human environment.

Yep, we’re talking about surface parking lots, which have been dubbed “parking craters” by Streetsblog editor Angie Schmitt. (The blog now has an annual “parking madness” bracket competition pitting cities against each other for the unenviable “Golden Crater” trophy. Tulsa was the winner in 2013, while Rochester took this year’s title.) Now Streetfilms has released a short film to illustrate the full extent of the surface parking lot problem.

“Parking lots create a vicious cycle,” Norman Garrick tells me. A professor at the University of Connecticut, Garrick has spent much of his career documenting the effects that acre upon acre of surface parking can have on a city’s health. “When more parking was provided, more people drove.”

There’s no such thing as a controlled experiment that can prove what would have happened in a given city if it had not given over huge amounts of its downtown to parking. Instead, Garrick has and his colleagues have compared cities of similar size that pursued aggressive pro-parking policies to those that changed course, and have argued on this site and elsewhere that increasing parking does not lead to the economic vibrancy that is often promised.

Whether you agree with their premise or not, there’s no arguing that huge surface parking lots create an atmosphere that is inherently hostile to the pedestrian: dull, unbearably hot in summer, windswept in all seasons, and potentially menacing, especially to women returning to their cars alone after dark.

full article: http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/06/how-parking-lots-became-the-scourge-of-american-downtowns/372207/
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jaxlore

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Re: How Parking Lots Became the Scourge of American Downtowns
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2014, 01:00:12 PM »
I was in the lot next to BG the other day and it amazes me that there is no code to keep these things from looking like dumps. There are literally 4 foot wide pot wholes scattered around the lot. What a waste.

fieldafm

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Re: How Parking Lots Became the Scourge of American Downtowns
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2014, 02:17:23 PM »
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I was in the lot next to BG the other day and it amazes me that there is no code to keep these things from looking like dumps. There are literally 4 foot wide pot wholes scattered around the lot. What a waste.

There actually is a code, enacted during the very end of the Peyton administration (Ordinance 2010-901).That particular revision is actually incomplete as it does not address accessory lots in a sufficient manner (which is true for most of the Code city-wide, which is a patchwork mess of incomplete and out of touch revisions). It's taken awhile, but several lots are being brought up to that code. I believe the Grand Lodge lot that you are refering to is facing a decision on what to do going forward to meet that code.

For instance, the lot where On The Fly and Muzzi's Madhouse food trucks operate from at the corner of Adams and Jefferson Streets was the result of bringing this particular lot up to code. The lot was repaved, more attractive fencing went up and two spots were carved out for mobile vendors which includes landscaping and shaded seating.




Another recent example is a block over at the corner of Adams and Clay Streets. The lot that was on top of a broken building foundation was repaired and now includes a more attractive fence and landscaping. The adjacent lot was also repaired with a impervious surfave/gravel lot and bioswale and is bieng used as an accessory lot for a tenant at the Everbank Tower. I don't have a picture of the finished product, but here is a pic of the original schematic.




The lot a block over (across from the Kartouche Building) has just been cleared and all of the broken pavement has been removed.

It's not perfect. And the owners of all three lots do not want the lots to parking lots for any extended period... and it would be very hard for me to ever argue in favor of dead space... but all three are an improvement over what was recently there.


I will also add personally, that Eddie Farrah (who owns the lot adjacent to Burrito Gallery) and the Grand Lodge (the lot behind BG) have been very accomodating in activating those lots at various times. Those spaces have hosted everything from Super Bowl parties, the Jazz Fest, a mini-skatepark, food truck rallies, staging area for vendors at Art Walk, a farmers market... and will be the space for the Connection Music Festival in a few months.

Jack Shad over at COJ Parking has also been very accomodating to using the City's parking inventory downtown in creative ways as well. Our community is lucky to have a guy like Jack serving the public.


Our current Mayor has not been as impressive with downtown parking, however. He wanted to shove down a bad layout that is not conducive to a walkable environment for the Fresh Market Brooklyn project, gave taxpayer money to fund a private parking garage that initially did not want to meet code by constructing ground level retail space-a big deal in the ever important quest to not add more permanent dead space downtown which further erodes the walkable environment DT (it was Metrojacksonville.com that pushed for what wound up being the compromise in that scenario, btw) and now is deeply discounting public parking for a private tenant (instead of letting the market dictate parking rates-which ultimately leads to scenarios where less surface parking lots would exist downtown) with the latest Dupont Trust deal announced last week.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 02:46:14 PM by fieldafm »

jaxlore

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Re: How Parking Lots Became the Scourge of American Downtowns
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2014, 09:58:03 AM »
Thanks for the info Field. It's good to hear they are in the process of doing something to these lots and have an open mind for creative uses. Makes me feel a little better about them.