General Parking Discussion

#1

I feel like there’s this anti car vibe on this board. I support alternative transit options more that most people, but I think it’s unrealistic to expect city plans and new developments to ignore that 95% of the population wants to drive places. Encourage yes, but force no. No one is going to build based on a utopian vision for a society where no one uses cars like we are Amsterdam or Copenhagen. I will be happy if we get to that point but Raleigh NC isn’t exactly at the forefront of progressive vision. Constantly framing every development discussion this way is a disservice and will just result in disappointment.

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Development at W Cabarrus/S Saunders, W Cabarrus Master Plan
#2

This board is hardly anti-car. I’m probably the most-anti suburban member here and even I only advocate for the developers to have the right not to develop car infrastructure and to encourage DTR to be more alternative transportation friendly.

Until then, parking structures with offices for hats will define Downtown Raleigh for the next 50 years and apartment costs higher than they should be as they have to set aside a large portion of their property for car parking–even if the resident doesn’t drive.

I mean the center of our prized future Dix Park is a circular parking lot–if that is not a testament of Raleigh’s priorities I don’t know what is.

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#3

Nobody is advocateing that any development be forced to remove parking or reduce parking in their plans. They are advocating that the developer not be forced to add parking that they would not otherwise include. Parking minimums take that decision away from the developer and the market. Minimums are basically a massive subsidy for car storage that the city government forces private developers to provide

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#4

I agree that parking minimums should probably not be a hard given for new developments. Instead, parking should be evaluated holistically (what currently exists and is currently being built in the area) when developers submit their plans. I realize this would make the approval process longer, but it seems better than requiring a minimum amount of parking if it’s not truly needed.

On the other hand, isn’t it already possible for developers to request variances from parking minimums?

In any case, this development is going to include a significant amount of parking to accommodate up to 500 residential units plus the office and commercial space—probably at least as much as the Dillon, if not more.

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#5

The problem with the purist “Market knows best” philosophy is that each individual stakeholder is motivated to take care of their own interests only. Yes, a developer will do what’s best for his development but this does not mean that what is best for the developer is best for everyone.

Not having parking minimums would allow developers to potentially offload the demand their projects create for parking onto others … existing municipal garages, available parking on the street (impacting other businesses), and adjacent neighborhoods due to increased spillover.

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#6

Or you know, people will use other means of transportation. Especially when Wake County doubles in population again.

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#7

I couldn’t agree more Francisco. I’ll add that the “other means of transportation” includes ones own two feet.
The challenge for DT Raleigh is to understand where we are going, while supporting where we are today. No doubt that cars are required for most everyone today for most of their activities. As the city and its core grows, that requirement will change. The question is how much it will change. I can’t imagine that cars will completely go away, but I do know that their uses will diminish going forward. For example, when the Publix is opened in another year and a half, it will have an immediate impact on how Glenwood South residents shop for groceries. For some, it will mean walking to the store more frequently for smaller grocery trips that can be carried home on foot. Others will take the RLine there from different parts of the city. Yet others will use the bike share. Certainly people will still drive there, but it will be a different model: 4 viable ways to access grocery shopping. I know this to be true because I see how it plays out where my other home is in Miami Beach. I live within walking distance of a Publix and a Fresh Market (and soon Trader Joe’s). All options are supported by Miami Beach’s version of the RLine, and have bike share stations nearby.
As the city grows, and more services and transportation options become available in the immediate core, car use will change. As a result, some people will start to abandon their cars, or only have one car when the household used to have two. But, in general, most people will spend less time in their cars than they do now, or used to do in the past.
One of the biggest problems that I see with parking downtown is the inefficiency of use of existing parking. This is especially true of the enormous amount of state parking that largely sits empty on evenings and weekends because there’s an “it’s mine!” mentality by those who have those spaces assigned to them for work. This model currently continues to play out because we aren’t looking at a comprehensive solution to our parking needs at a higher level. We just continue to look at it project by project as if those projects exist in a vacuum, or out in the suburbs. We have to stop doing that. We have to look at these needs comprehensively. We have to start asking the tough questions like “What we do if we didn’t have any new parking provided?” or “How do we propose to accommodate parking if the city severely limited the new amount of supply?”. Now, before people start jumping down my throat for this, I am only saying these things to stretch our creative thinking. I know that this isn’t going to happen immediately. I just want us to stop thinking that we are entitled to free or cheap parking at all times and to everyone because that’s the way it’s always been.

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#8

There’s a catch-22 though. Obviously, the majority of people who work downtown don’t live there. If their employer doesn’t provide some sort of parking option and no realistic commuting option exists (commuter rail, etc…) the desirability of working downtown will be limited. We don’t have the density for that to happen yet. In order to get people away from cars, the car has to almost become a liability. An extreme example would be Manhattan. Driving in Manhattan is probably the last form of transportation I would ever consider. We aren’t to that point. You can drive right through the middle of Raleigh during midday and it takes about 10 minutes.

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#9

Desirability of working in a place due to parking ease, or not, is fascinating right?

To a certain extent, I don’t think we need to worry about it too greatly. People just seem to figure it out. For example, my company has parking in the building and the company covers a portion of the cost. Yet folks are still choosing the $40/mo or $20/mo spaces and walking a few blocks to come in. They seem to love the cheap parking.

On the other hand, there are those that do want that parking and are willing to pay for it.

It’s a slow boil kind of thing and I think, slowly, nudging the public in the direction of alternatives is the right way to go. In no way do I advocate for forcing anyone to take transit over driving but transit should provide value in a way that sells people to use instead of driving.

If I lived at this development, the topic of this thread, but parking was incredibly easy in downtown, it’s just more tempting to not want to drive every now and then. At the same time, if sidewalks were wide, clear, and direct to where I wanted to go, that sells me on wanting to walk more.

The car experience is just vastly superior because we’ve made it that way. There has to be a multi-modal approach to getting around this city and I’m optimistic that we’re on that path. (maybe not at the pace I want but we sort of are)

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#10

That’s not a catch-22.
I understand that people work downtown that don’t live there. We know that’s the case today, and that nearly everyone drives. However, do we know that that will be the case ad infinitum? What will be the impact of new housing and transportation options? Where will the next generation of state workers want to reside? Will the state keep all those jobs in the core, or move them out of the city center? We can’t look forward and presume that nothing ever changes.

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#11

Until we get a transit infrastructure in place, I believe things will likely be more of the same. The bus rapid transit will help out somewhat, but we need a game changer like commuter rail.

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#12

Why don’t we create a separate topic dedicated to Downtown parking? Quite a few of the posts in this thread have nothing to do with the Clancy site, and the topic of parking is a pretty interesting one on its own.

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#13

Done. Thanks for the suggestion.

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#14

Honestly, even then parking will be important. Parking is a valuable commodity in places like Center City Philadelphia or Midtown Manhattan. New apartments and offices often include a parking deck because the buyers want it. Even in Manhattan, over 45% of people drive to work.

#15

No way dude, I am the most anti suburban member here. Hands down.

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#16

Meanwhile, I like suburbs if they’re done correctly. I didn’t think transit-oriented suburbs were possible until I lived in Massachusetts. After visiting places like Sommerville and Brookline, I know SFH can be dense enough to encourage transit use, we just have to make it happen.

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#17

Exactly, “suburban” is only an ugly word if it creates a scenario where the only realistic option is to drive everywhere. Some of my favorite (beautiful, walk-able) neighborhoods in the world are “suburban” in that they are not center city locations.

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#18

Those go by the ugly name Live-Work-Play developments. Like North Hills. Urban but with all the chain restaurants that appeal to middle America.

#19

I’m not the most exciting guy in the world, but give me a little park, a brewery and a transit stop in the middle and I think I’d enjoy living in one of those. I just want something where I don’t need a car to do everything, where I can stroll out to dinner, or walk my dog past something other than other houses, where we don’t need a DD or an Uber to get home after the bar. But I also don’t want to live somewhere that’s loud at 1 am on a Wednesday and 3 bedrooms are unobtainable. I think a lot of people would be willing to trade that for chains (though I admittedly would love to see local businesses). BTW, I don’t in any way mean to bash city centers, I just don’t think walkability should be limited to downtowns.

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#20

I live in suburban North Raleigh, but am lucky enough to be in a highly walkable area. There was a big compromise between a SFH or a townhouse, but for me getting rid of the yard maintenance and gaining walkablilty was worth the compromise. The HOA dues suck, but you can’t live anywhere near Raleigh (that is within my budget) without having that issue. The goal (though a long way out) is to get the kids out of the house, retire, go to a single vehicle household and walk or take public transit in the future. We got a lot of crap from a lot of folks for this decision. Telling us that with kids, you HAVE to have a yard… What do you mean you don’t have a garage (to store all your crap), Etc., but in the end, we felt this was the best choice for our long term goals. There is a bus line that runs within walking distance of us now, but I am hoping in the 25ish years until I can actually retire, Raleigh will have invested in decent transit that can get us where we need/want to go and we won’t miss the second car (or all the costs associated with owning 2 cars). The point of this post, and I have said this before, is that there needs to be a conscious change in the way we think about what we NEED vs what we WANT. The American Dream is outdated and hopefully the Millenials will shift from the “norm” (SFH on a postage stamp), to more human scale homes and environments.

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