The Transportation Issue


In last week’s Planetizen post, Todd Litman expressed his frustrations with inefficient transportation policies, stating that, while many local governments are attempting to decrease energy consumption through LEED certifications, a significant barrier to reaching their energy goals is the issue of parking. He states that true sustainable design includes LEED certification along with smart parking guidelines. Unfortunately, many governments are unwilling to pass better parking policies. He cites the case of Vancouver rental apartment:

This building is located in a very walkable area with abundant local services, close to five major bus lines. It is an ideal location to encourage car-free living. However, the building also has 78 underground parking stalls (0.8 spaces per unit). These parking spaces are unbundled (rented separately from housing units), but priced at just $35 per month, although the cost-recovery price would be about $250, so residents’ parking, and therefore vehicle ownership are still subsidized by about $215 per month. If parking were efficiently priced, apartment rents could be reduced about $200 per month, greatly increasing housing affordability in a city with a severe housing unaffordability problem.

Litman states that city governments are usually fearful of the burden of increased enforcement that comes with public parking – as well as fearful of the public backlash from motorists.

Should parking be a significant factor in considerations for sustainable design? What is the role of local government in all of this?

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About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on March 22, 2010, in Municipal Government, Public Infrastructure, Transportation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Parking must definitely be considered in sustainable design. However ideal it may be to have a perfectly walkable neighborhood, we still live in an age where the car is king.

    New regulations on parking structures should be put in place that anticipate retrofitting. Since peak oil is upon us and there is a significant possibility that there will be a day when we will no longer be able to use parking structures, it would be ideal for these buildings to get turned around as easily and cost-effectively as possible.

    Additional design to put storefront space on the street level would help disguise parking garages and help them contribute to the streetscape.

    Right now, I’m listening to James Kunstler’s podcast about the same subject – apparently people get up in arms about the subject of parking.

    http://www.kunstlercast.com/

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