I confess: I have officially become a research junkie. The good news is that given my job, this is actually a good thing! The best part is sharing some of the great work that I have stumbled onto with friends and colleagues.
One really nice piece of work that deserves a wider audience is a study: “Driving Urban Environments: Smart Growth Parking Best Practices,” published by the Governor’s Office of Smart Growth in Maryland.
This study does a great job of capturing both the importance and the challenges associated with parking. It addresses the increasing concerns related to the downsides of an auto-based landscape that no longer holds the promise of progress and growth, but rather fosters congestion that steals precious time from our lives and creates significant environmental concerns. In contrast, this work promotes the promise inherent in smart growth strategies, recognizing that the future and vitality of our communities is dependent upon our ability to foster better planned, more environmentally protective, more sustainable patterns of development.
The promise of smart growth strategies, however, does not come without its challenges, and no aspect of development illustrates this better than parking. The following quote captures the essence of this work: “Parking requirements now drive many site designs, and are often the make or break issue for financing new developments. Too many quality smart growth projects remain on the drawing board because they simply cannot solve the parking dilemma. We need parking, but we need to re-think parking design, parking financing, and parking supply and demand to better meet the needs of communities, developers, and users.”
This study addresses parking management and design as a critical factor in the context of smart growth strategies for urban environments and reaffirms the key role parking plays in effective community and economic development.
I encourage you to check out this great piece of work.