Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Streetsblog

Wooing Suburban Drivers With Cheap Parking: A Losing Strategy for Cities

false

There may be nothing sadder than distressed cities trying to compete with the suburbs by adding more parking spaces. (We're looking at you, Cleveland, Detroit, and Buffalo!)

Chris McCahill and Norman Garrick recently wrote in Atlantic Cities about the failure of this approach: Cities that attempt to use parking as an economic development strategy actually undermine their own cause. And today at the State Smart Transportation Institute, Mary Ebeling adds some more perspective to the research:

During the era of interstate highway construction, and the resulting demographic shift from city to suburb, municipalities worked to provide auto access to their downtowns, hoping this access would support economic growth. However, mounting evidence shows that greater automobile access came at the expense of the very economic vibrancy cities sought and does not help reduce roadway congestion. Costs associated with accommodating cars, particularly for parking, are outweighed by the long-term economic costs.

Recent research shows cities that focus on auto access experience a decline in economic activity and lack of vibrancy, suggesting a policy of prioritizing cars often fails as an economic development tool for urban areas. Municipalities with excess parking do increase driving into and within the city, but the increase in income disparity between urban core and suburban areas shows how this policy may pose equity issues.

Managing car parking does not amount to an anti-auto outlook or policy. Simply put, cities working to manage car parking are hoping to offer multi-modal transportation options that make for a vibrant urban life.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Systemic Failure shares an outrageous story about New Jersey Transit blocking pedestrian access to one of its rail stations. Commute Orlando says the Florida Department of Transportation's campaign to reduce pedestrian fatalities is nothing more than lip service. And Bike Delaware explores the consequences of a 115-year car ban on Michigan's Mackinac Island.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Opinion: Connect the Dots of Manhattan’s Missing Bike Lanes

Only a few miles of missing protected lanes stand in the way of a robust bike network.

April 15, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Thanking the Academy Edition

We would be remiss if we didn't offer some photos and copy about Friday's George Polk Awards ceremony, plus other news.

April 15, 2024

Civic Panel Pushes For (Some) Atlantic Ave. Safety Upgrades

Brooklyn Community Board 2 stopped short of calling for a more aggressive redesign of a street where drivers have killed six pedestrians in the last decade.

April 15, 2024

Vandals Commit Mass Arborcide Near the Greenway in Kissena Park

Hundreds of young trees were ripped from the ground — some stolen, some just left for dead — near the greenway in Kissena Park in Queens.

April 14, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: The Polk’s on Us Edition

This afternoon, our reporter Jesse Coburn will journey to Midtown to accept Streetsblog's first George Polk Award, one of journalism's highest honors. But before that, here's the news.

April 12, 2024
See all posts