I know that I have touched on this issue before, but I thought that I’d talk about these parking podiums again.
In many, many cities across America, these podiums are becoming pretty common place for rapidly growing urban cores in post-ww2 boom cities without robust transit options. The reality is that we want to grow our cores without waiting for adequate transit that would ideally precede it. This means that we have to find a place for cars. What does that mean for us? Well, it means parking podiums and lower levels of towers dedicated to parking. Of course, the parking can go underground, but that’s almost always more expensive of a venture than a developer typically wishes to fund. While it would be much, much better for the urban nature of of our cities to push parking below ground, many cities are put in a bind to prevent podiums for fear to limiting development. Now that that genie is out of the bottle across the country, it’s going to be almost impossible to put it back in.
So, what can be done to make these podiums more palatable. Well…
- Wrap the parking with mixed uses. Apparently, Kane is prepared to wrap the 3 most key sides of the podium with housing in phase 3. This is a very good thing. Many, many podiums only have screening on them to “decorate” the facade, while keeping them completely deactivated from a people perspective. Ground floor retail topped visually by a few floors of residences is a very good thing.
- Podiums can be built for use conversion. With a flat deck model (not a continuous slopping parking ramp), and with the slab to slab distances appropriately designed, podium parking can be repurposed in the future when the demand for cars decreases. I am not sure if Kane is even thinking in this way or not, but others are.
- The top deck of these podiums provide lots of options for building or community amenities. The tops of these decks could be for recreation like pools and tennis courts. They could be public plazas for large scale events. They could be the foundation for an outdoor festival marketplace with kiosk business. If done right, that podium “roof” could really be something special.