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Author Topic: Parking Requirements are a Joke  (Read 13333 times)
OurTulsa
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« Reply #30 on: November 10, 2009, 10:02:29 am »

Here is a timely and related story.  The sad thing is this writer could be talking about almost any American city including our own.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/69419357.html

A void paved over with concrete

Posted: Nov. 7, 2009

My wife and I own an apartment in the European city where her parents came from. Almería's population is over 200,000, and it's been around for hundreds of years.

As a pedestrian, one is in constant negotiation with cars and scooters because the streets are jagged in shape, cramped, sometimes lacking in sidewalks - and teeming with life. Shop storefronts display dresses and shoes that would star at the Oscars. The window of a hardware store accommodates three centuries of door latches, from the rustic to the ultra-high tech. Every step has my head craning in one direction or another, even if it is to wave a car right through a stop sign as I slip around behind - faster and friendlier for both of us.

Arriving home from Spain, we drove through Milwaukee from Mitchell International Airport, and the eerie calm of sealing ourselves behind car windows settled over us; the "carness" of our life here spread out like a gray pall all around us.

Instead of people, conversation, shopping, eating and attending to business on the hoof, we were surrounded by access roads, parking lots, highways and bridges until we eventually passed under the shadow of the hulking three-story garage whose gloomy, and empty, cavern overshadows our magnificent art museum.

We Americans are all infrastructure - and no people.

Friends here are surprised that we don't own a car in Almería. There's no need, even though life there is pretty regular and not some outlandish eco-haven like Carmel, Calif., with its boutique clothing shops and celebrity clubs.

Everything we bought for our apartment in Almería we bought on foot. Plumbers, furniture stores, computer equipment and appliances are only a few minutes away. When we bought our washing machine, the owner's brother was waiting for us at our door, our washer on a handcart, even though we lingered for only moments on the walk home.

What's the cost for living our American way? It's not just the thousands of dollars for the second car, insurance and gas. We also have to support a lake of concrete around us - and gas, electric and sewer lines to stretch out past the near-vacant belts beyond the older suburbs. Property taxes in Almería on our condo are one-twelfth our taxes in Milwaukee, even though the value of the two homes is roughly the same.

One-twelfth. Oh, and they throw in free health insurance.

That's a lot of concrete, wire and pipes to keep up - and patrol. Milwaukee's close suburbs have residential streets that have room for two lanes of traffic going each way, plus both parking and turning lanes. Six lanes of concrete.

I was driving on a street like that recently - it's residential, so I was the only car in sight, although several white lines directed me around like I had a ring in my nose on the rare chance that a second car may venture into sight. Not so long ago, people's eyes grew large when a news announcer glowed about "six-lane super-highways" in Los Angeles. Now we have them to serve blocks where only a few houses stand.

Where are the people? Nobody is coming; nobody is going.

If we gained something for our money, I'd happily pay it. But I look south out the window of my downtown office and see streets and highways, of course. Plus parking garages, ramps, driveways, surface lots and street parking - not to mention the gas stations, auto-part stores and car washes.

Our cities (and Milwaukee still remains one of the most attractive) are dead zones with small pods of life barricaded between the elements that support the passage, storage and care of cars. In our most densely trafficked sidewalks, it is a hundred feet between businesses whose windows have a chance of being interesting to look in at while walking past. Throw in a bank or two and one has to take a taxi to get between shops where people congregate over a cup of coffee or buy a shirt.

No wonder we all drive.

Almería is modern enough to need cars. For the most part, cars brought into the city are routed to underground parking. As expensive as that might sound, what otherwise would be dead space at street level goes instead to businesses with apartments above, as well as an interesting collection of squares, parks and kiosks that are a part of every day's stroll.

Read this again: one-twelfth our property taxes.

Still, it's not about the money. It's about life. We stood on the street one night in one of America's few cities that are dense and walkable: New York City. A local television station was hosting a karaoke event. Tough-looking teenagers in floppy pants were singing along with suited Japanese businessmen, middle-aged housewives in sensible shoes, Orthodox Jews in yarmulkes, students in backpacks and a couple of tourists from Milwaukee. An older businessman waited at a crosswalk with me the next day, giving directions to a pair of young guys who would raise hair at the back of my neck if I ran into them on a lonely stretch. They thanked the older man and headed off. The businessman explained, "When you're on the street, everyone knows you have to deal with people. We're all in this together."

A more ominous view about our expansively concreted lives came from a Bulgarian programmer who has just moved here. Commenting about our infrastructure, America's glory and disaster, he said, "People who are separate are easier to control."

Malls are about the only public place in America where people aren't separate. Look around a mall, though - teenagers hang with their high-school friends, parents keep toddlers in the firm grip of their hands, bums sag alone on a bench, while walkers stride by in the world of their headphones. We're as sealed off from each other as first-class is from economy on a long and monotonous flight.

In non-American cities, you see grandparents sitting with teenagers or elegantly dressed women mixing it up in a café with workmen taking a lunchtime coffee or beer. I've often seen fathers reading to their young children. Right out in public - an act that would rank as deprivation here, when the tykes could be mesmerized instead by a video in the back seat of their Escalade or Tundra.

Almería is seven hours ahead of Milwaukee, and my wife happened to call me at what was 3 in the morning her time. She'd just gotten in from dinner and a concert (whole families are out at midnight; nothing about their crazy schedule surprises me anymore). She had walked home alone, though of course she was not actually alone on the street. I was just leaving for a friend's who lived some blocks away, past several alleys, garages and shuttered stores flanked by asphalt pads.

I drove.

Richard L. Birch of Milwaukee is a business writer. Richard L. Birch of Milwaukee is a business writer.
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cannon_fodder
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« Reply #31 on: November 10, 2009, 12:03:51 pm »

+1

Quote
Our cities (and Milwaukee still remains one of the most attractive) are dead zones with small pods of life barricaded between the elements that support the passage, storage and care of cars. In our most densely trafficked sidewalks, it is a hundred feet between businesses whose windows have a chance of being interesting to look in at while walking past. Throw in a bank or two and one has to take a taxi to get between shops where people congregate over a cup of coffee or buy a shirt.

No wonder we all drive.

Great read and painfully on point.  I'm envious of that small Spanish city.  The area he described, urban, dense and livable - with plentiful amenities within walking distance; are the areas in KC, Dallas, Austin, etc. that people are willing to pay the most to live in.  Show me an area like the one he described in Tulsa, and I'd pay nearly any price to live there. 

In Tulsa we are even alone in our neighborhoods.  Most of my friends hardly know their neighbors, in my area only a small group of neighbors talk ever.  And I feel lucky to have neighbors who actually hang out and talk at all.  It's seems so strange, we're friendly . . . but have no interest in mingling. 
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« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2009, 04:59:07 pm »

+1

Great read and painfully on point.  I'm envious of that small Spanish city.  The area he described, urban, dense and livable - with plentiful amenities within walking distance; are the areas in KC, Dallas, Austin, etc. that people are willing to pay the most to live in.  Show me an area like the one he described in Tulsa, and I'd pay nearly any price to live there. 

In Tulsa we are even alone in our neighborhoods.  Most of my friends hardly know their neighbors, in my area only a small group of neighbors talk ever.  And I feel lucky to have neighbors who actually hang out and talk at all.  It's seems so strange, we're friendly . . . but have no interest in mingling. 

My neighborhood had big cookouts 2-3 times a year 18 years ago....great times! Then Bush got elected, 9/11, and a few good one's moved out of town and left us with ingrates and selfish evil doers who built huge fences and started turning neighbor against neighbor. See the trend?
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« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2009, 06:07:40 pm »

Great story, that describes the different models quite starkly. Thanks for sharing.
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« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2009, 06:36:48 pm »

My neighborhood had big cookouts 2-3 times a year 18 years ago....great times! Then Bush got elected, 9/11, and a few good one's moved out of town and left us with ingrates and selfish evil doers who built huge fences and started turning neighbor against neighbor. See the trend?

Bush's fault?
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nathanm
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« Reply #35 on: November 10, 2009, 07:18:22 pm »

Bush's fault?
I think Bush is/was more of a symptom than a cause.
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« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2015, 12:34:02 pm »

Board Wants Change in Zoning Code Parking Requirements

http://publicradiotulsa.org/post/board-wants-change-zoning-code-parking-requirements

Quote
Tulsa’s Transportation Advisory Board wants to change how the city approaches parking.

The board wants to eliminate minimum off-street parking requirements for businesses from the zoning code. Chairman Stephen Lassiter said that wouldn’t immediately change how much parking is available for drivers.

"But over time, developers, property owners will be able to say, 'You know what? This parking lot is way too big. I could build another building on this thing and lease it out and make some more money,'" Lassiter said. "So over time, you're going to get a better use of land."

The idea has some traction within the city planning department.

"I, for one, am fairly comfortable with dropping the minimums, eliminating the minimums in places near downtown where they really don't have options for parking," said City Planner Theron Warlick.

It's not a common step. far, Buffalo, N.Y., is the only U.S. city that’s done away with minimum parking requirements.

"They're proposing it as an economic development incentive, and it speaks to what [the board was] suggesting: Give people a chance to create more leasable space, more rentable space, more sales square footage, and don't require as much for off-street parking," Warlick said.

A new version of the zoning code is due out this month. While it will have the same parking requirements,  the city could begin a series of public meetings for input on changing them.
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cannon_fodder
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« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2015, 01:56:27 pm »

GREAT IDEA!

Seems odd that Buffalo is the only city to do away with the minimum parking requirement (though, Buffalo is oddly in a renaissance per recent articles I read).

Do developments in the Plaza area of KC have minimum requirements? Manhattan? Chicago? Austin? Surely not.

Maybe just the only city to have adopted and realize the errors of their way was Buffalo?

Nonetheless, GREAT IDEA!

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« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2015, 03:28:37 pm »

Great!  It will also help many of those older buildings that have sat empty for so long get tenants.  We looked at a place on 11th in the Pearl District, signed a lease, made a deposit etc.  (we were originally "told" the person next door would share their lot, but turns out they would not do so) the parking requirements finally made us pull out and move elsewhere.  The space is still empty.
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« Reply #39 on: February 09, 2015, 08:01:38 am »

It seems like a no-brainer. Parking lots don't generate revenue or sales tax but active buildings do.

I went to High Gravity on Friday and took a real good look at that giant empty parking lot that people are using a street to bypass the traffic light at 71st and Memorial. I can't think of any reason that that shopping center needs so much parking, 85% of it is completely unused.

21st and Yale has a similar problem, I can't beleive there aren't regular accidents in the Target lot with people using it like a street.
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Conan71
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« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2015, 08:47:45 am »

It seems like a no-brainer. Parking lots don't generate revenue or sales tax but active buildings do.

I went to High Gravity on Friday and took a real good look at that giant empty parking lot that people are using a street to bypass the traffic light at 71st and Memorial. I can't think of any reason that that shopping center needs so much parking, 85% of it is completely unused.

21st and Yale has a similar problem, I can't beleive there aren't regular accidents in the Target lot with people using it like a street.

Exactly.  Turns out Collins Liquor is moving into the renovated strip center to the north of all that madness and I believe the homophobic chicken place will be building on that pad site.  There’s room enough on the unused parking to put in at least one or two more pad sites in that parking lot.
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« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2015, 08:57:05 am »

Off topic, but I can't help but think that that move won't be good for Collins since it pretty much hides them back in the corner where they can't be seen from the street. I could be wrong.
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Conan71
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« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2015, 09:08:51 am »

Off topic, but I can't help but think that that move won't be good for Collins since it pretty much hides them back in the corner where they can't be seen from the street. I could be wrong.

I hadn’t thought of them losing some drive-by/drop-in traffic due to loss of visibility. 
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« Reply #43 on: February 09, 2015, 09:29:11 am »

Great!  It will also help many of those older buildings that have sat empty for so long get tenants.  We looked at a place on 11th in the Pearl District, signed a lease, made a deposit etc.  (we were originally "told" the person next door would share their lot, but turns out they would not do so) the parking requirements finally made us pull out and move elsewhere.  The space is still empty.

Heh.."Pull Out"...Heh..heh....
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« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2015, 10:00:17 am »

Heh.."Pull Out"...Heh..heh....


Yep...the real you...  But which one are you??  Beavis or...??


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