Free Parking? Is it what you think it is?

A recent discussion on a local LinkedIn group at Santa Rosa Connections opened my eyes to what the general public and the municipal governments think about parking.  And FREE parking at that.  Do you know that the City that they’re talking about in this discussion is a larger metropolitan area that changes twenty-five cents for every 15 minutes on its downtown streets.  People complain about this, merchants say it is putting them out of business and shoppers say that they don’t come downtown because they have to pay for parking.  While, as a designer, I think potentially, the parking rates should rise.  When designing commercial centers, I try to lower the requirements of the city on parking numbers.  This allows for more retail space, more landscape space and generally a better feeling center.  I mean, how does New York City work?  What about Portland, Oregon?

I recently read an article titled How too much parking hurt cities.  This study compares three cities that have supressed parking with three that have provided plent, and the results are suprising.  This study showed that cities with less parking are actually more successful, more vibrant and more desired.

By contrast, San Francisco has just instituted a pioneering program to connect parking meter prices to supply and demand, with prices being adjusted, over time, within a general range of 25 cents to $6 an hour.  This is a great system and one that has been reviewed by our local city, but it has never passed muster with our residents.  Donald Shoup is a national expert on parking and he recently was featured in an article of the New York Times, check it out.

Do you want more free parking or less?  I’ll let you educate yourself and post your decision on this blog!

Where are all of the millenials?

I was reading through a New Urbanism blog this afternoon and noticed this article…

http://bettercities.net/news-opinion/blogs/kaid-benfield/19778/why-smarter-land-use-can-help-cities-attract-and-retain-young

As a planner and landscape architect, this article goes into a lot of the explanation that I have been explaning to my clients for a few years now.  Millenials are wanting to be closer to work, have to drive less, be able to take public transit and have a fun location to enjoy.  That is a tall order to fill, but there are many opportunities in our local North Bay, but also everywhere in California.  Infill developments are becoming very popular and we are currently looking at two or three potnetial infill developments for our clients.

Take this into consideration of a mid-western towns dilemma:

“Several  large corporations that collectively need to hire more than five  thousand workers per year, and by the end of the last decade they had  learned that the kind of bright young workers they wanted to attract  didn’t particularly want to live or work in the kind of place they had  become.”

And what about these statistics:

  • 31 percent prefer to live in a core city (this number is double that of previous generations at the same age).
  •  GEEKSTATS, creative commons)Two-thirds seek walkable places and town centers, even if their preference is to live in a suburb.
  • On third is willing to pay a premium to be able to walk to shops and amenities.
  • Half are willing to give up living space in order to live in a walkable neighborhood.
  • They value diverse neighborhoods, proximity to jobs, and fun, with  more emphasis on connectedness and life/work balance than their  predecessors.

It’s really time to start considering what the “new” economy and real estate buyer are considering.