Mapping the Effects of Parking Minimums — Strong Towns

What makes surface parking so destructive is that it consumes a finite resource with virtually no direct financial benefit. Our pre-occupation at Urban Three is local finance. From that perspective, parking–in particular the vast kind that adorns strip malls and box stores–is dead weight. Local governments, be they in cities, towns, or counties, are all constrained by the land they can develop. What they do with that resource is thus, paramount to how well they can pay their bills. Tax revenue is but one of many resources squandered by each acre of land devoted to deactivated cars. What’s fascinating about this model…

European Towns Remove Traffic Signs to Make Streets Safer | Europe | DW.DE | 27.08.2006

Towns in Germany and the Netherlands are beginning to remove road signs in the hope of decongesting roads and making travel a less confusing experience. Do they make roads safer or more dangerous? Imagine what it would be like traveling around towns without street signs. Would people move around carefully, looking out for each other or would chaos break out? In the Netherlands, transport planner Hans Monderman has pioneered a new method which involves removing traffic signs, lights and in some cases, road markings. This concept has successfully been tested in the small Dutch town of Drachten, which has had…

Living in communion

Church leaders around the country should be doing everything they can to reconnect the social bonds of our communities. We reconnect the social bonds most easily and effectively when we reconnect the physical bonds. We should be obsessed with getting people out of their cars and back into each other’s lives. If you are not already a member of Strong Towns, you really need to be. We’re pushing the boundaries on reforming our cities, our finances, our transportation system, leading a national conversation on how to build a strong America. We are taking these powerful ideas and turning them into action…

Talking Transit: Making way for people by rethinking the street – Metropolitan Planning Council

Like many cities, Chicago devotes a huge percentage of its land to the public right of way—and most of that is reserved for motor vehicles. According to the Chicago Pedestrian Plan, 23 percent of the city is committed to uses like streets and alleys. Parking takes up a significant amount of room as well; a recent study by Michael Manville and Donald Shoup suggests that street parking in the Loop, including garages, accounts for 36 percent of downtown’s land area. Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner Gabe Klein, Chicago is moving to convert some of that…

The One About the Parking-Pinched Merchant… | Planetizen

Ian Sacs on Planetizen: Streetsblog SF recently posted a great piece on the results of a SFMTA survey that showed that only about fifteen percent of people get to heavily-shopped Polk Street by car.  The remainder arrived by a mix of walking, bicycling, and transit (By the way, I have heard some angry merchants speculating that people without parking might get to their shop via a “magic carpet” mode, which would probably fit in the “other” category). I believe these findings are important because they demonstrate in cold, unemotional numbers yet another counter-intuitive fact about traffic and parking; namely, that…

Let’s Build A Traditional City (And Make A Profit)

Founding our own town is tempting – rural land is cheap, and we have the ability to build whatever we want. However, it has its downfalls – no one currently lives there, and unless you’ve somehow managed to convince 1,000 families to relocate with you without any guarantee of a job when they get there, you will have a hard time populating your town. Let’s also add to the fact we could be building on potentially valuable agricultural land or interferring with some other natural habitat. We can still build a traditional urban environment from scratch, even without founding our…

Old Urbanist: Greening the DC Zoning Code?

The newly released draft of Washington DC’s zoning code, as reported by Greater Greater Washington, contains promising changes, including reduced parking requirements and the allowance, after a decades-long ban, of homes on alleys.  Also new to the code is the proposed “Green Area Ratio,” a regulation that is molded on similar laws found in European cities such as Berlin and Malmo.  A version of the same idea, the so-called “Green Factor,” has already been implemented in Seattle, where it has drawn praise and some criticism. via Old Urbanist: Greening the DC Zoning Code?.

Old Urbanist: We Are the 25%: Looking at Street Area Percentages and Surface Parking

Although these numbers are interesting enough on their own, I bring them up to emphasize the importance of the street grid in determining the balance of buildable to non-buildable land.  Even the difference in unbuilt area between the downtowns most dominated by surface lots, and those most built out, as is the case for Houston and Washington, is no greater than the difference between Washington and the European cities with the most generous street allotments – the Paris of Haussmann, with its broad boulevards, imperial Vienna of the 19th century, and Barcelona’s Eixample, all of which devote around 25 percent of…