Tell any new urbanist there’s been a new parking study and you’ll likely see her blood begin to boil. “Parking is not a right!” will be proclaimed and references to academic papers such as The High Cost of Free Parking will be made. Such was exactly the case when Central Atlanta Progress released its brand new parking study. And while the consultants behind the study aren’t genius copy writers with tag lines like, “Atlanta doesn’t have a parking problem, it has a perception problem” the general gist holds true. There’s an overabundance of parking in Downtown Atlanta yet visitors complain there’s nowhere to park.
The assessment’s ultimate suggestion is to re-brand public parking. By filtering all of the private operators, and there are several, under one consistent brand Downtown visitors will be more likely to utilize the existing parking. Wait for it … “So all visitors need parking?!” Well, no. But this assessment’s job was to analyze parking. Do we demand assessments of biking and mass transportation also consider automobile parking? Generally, no. The fact is CAP is very much focused on alternative modes of transportation and many aspects of good urbanism Downtown. Here are just a few Pop-Up Retail Program, Sustainability Efforts, Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, Walkablitly/Bikeability Improvements, Some transit thingy called the Atlanta Streetcar.
But Atlantans have a right to be wary of any organization considering the conundrum of all these cars. We have thankfully reached an age, I think , where those decisions are not being made in a vacuum.
To remember when they were, here’s an incomplete list of Downtown buildings turned into parking decks. If you enjoy these pictures please donate to aid the speedy recovery of Greg Germani.