Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Condo project in San Diego reduces parking in response to financiers

San Diego:  A 37-story condo or apartment tower would dominate the Ballpark Village project approved for the block bounded by Park Boulevard and Imperial and 12th avenues. — Carrier Johnson + Culture

 The issue of how much parking to provide in urban buildings is very contentious.  Because in the US the automobile is the dominant transportation, people have a hard time dealing with what we might call outliers, or those places where the automobile isn't dominant, where people walk, bike or use transit and drive less.

A few cities, notably San Francisco and Seattle, have for many years eliminated parking requirements in their core.  Spreading these practices to more cities, such as DC, has been very contentious, as residents in the more suburban parts of the city come out in force to oppose such recommendations ("DC as a suburban agenda dominated city").

The San Diego Union-Tribune has an interesting article, "Ballpark Village project OKd: Apartments or condos in $250m project still undecided," about a project to be built next to the Petco Field baseball stadium in Downtown San Diego.  In the most the current iteration, they're planning to provide 1/6 fewer parking spaces compared to previous plans.  The building will have 688 units of housing.  From the article:
Another point of contention was the reduction in parking spaces planned. Earlier plans called for 1,175 spaces on three levels and now that's been revised down to 942 on two levels -- still higher than the downtown zoning ordinance requires. 

Chatfield said the change was in response to potential financiers who thought a third underground level would not be popular with residents and argued that downtowners, especially the young, don't drive as much as in the past.
Morgan, a former downtown resident, said she backs less parking in light of the increased use of car sharing and interest in mass transit, biking and walking.
It's not a huge reduction but it is a reduction that is not insignificant.  

It's somewhat astounding because in past experience, it is mostly the financing community (along with automobile-enamored residents) that has pushed providing lots of parking/as much parking as possible, even in very urban settings.

Now, judging by this project at least, it seems as if some financing entities see that reducing parking in those locations where parking is less likely to be needed.

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