"When it comes to parking, every city must eventually answer two questions: Do new buildings have to provide their own parking, and where should that parking go? Most cities answer both of these questions incorrectly. A commitment to suburban standards of parking is a commitment to a second-class transit system used by virtually no one but the poor, since everyone else will drive. Further, most cities require new and renovated buildings to provide their own parking on site. This is probably the single greatest killer of urbanism in the United States today. It prevents the renovation of old buildings, since there is inadequate room on their sites for new parking; it encourages the construction of anti-pedestrian building types in which the building sits behind or hovers above a parking lot; it eliminates street life, since everyone who parks immediately adjacent to their destination and has no reason to use the sidewalk; finally, it results in a low density of development that can keep a downtown from achieving critical mass. Cities that wish to be pedestrian-friendly and fully developed should eliminate this ordinance immediately and provide public parking in carefully located municipal garages and lots. Parking must be considered a part of public infrastructure, just like streets and sewers."
Have we learned our lesson since the 1970s? Not yet it seems as one can't help but feel that the City of Woodbury dropped the ball on this account regarding the recent Bottom Dollar sprawl zoning allowance fiasco. In addition, numerous studies and articles show that much of what zoning ordinances have dictated in the past 50 or so years regarding parking requirements are completely unnecessary and actually damaging, especially in traditional downtown scenarios. You absolutely want people to walk... and they will, as long as your downtown is aesthetically attractive, clean, and safe! The Downtown Research & Development Center is just one example organization that provides many publications chock full of statistics and studies in favor of eliminating outdated zoning for parking! I was particularly impressed with this example in Broad Ripple, IN where people regularly are willing to park 6 blocks away from their destination... but that's the thing... there needs to be a destination!
|John Cooper house then...|
|... same spot now. Classy, huh!?|
|The John Cooper Manse, a noble building to the very end.|
|Cooper house and neighboring Surrogate's Office circa 1900|
|Guess we won't need this hanging around anymore!|
The original placard honoring the Revolutionary War site.