Posts tagged parking
Posts tagged parking
The fact is, ever since cars were kicked out of central Copenhagen, the downtown has been thriving. “For a while now, Copenhagen has had a policy of taking away three percent of the inner city parking every year, on the theory that if people can’t park, they won’t drive. If you do it slowly enough, nobody notices. I always say that quality of a city shouldn’t be determined by counting how many pedestrians you have, but by the number of people who have stopped being pedestrians, and have decided to sit down and stay awhile. We found that for every fourteen square meters you take away from cars you can count on one extra cafe terrance seat. That means for every parking spot removed, you get two more people sitting and enjoying life.”
As quoted in Straphanger by Taras Grescoe, the current book I’m reading. It’s making me really want to travel to Denmark. (FYI - Copenhagen is farther north than Saskatoon.) I’ll be posting more tasty bits, but right now I’m imagining life in Copenhagen. They seem a little sassy there.
Sometimes, a shop owner still tries to claim his business was ruined because the city removed four parking spaces. But now the mayor can point to real figures and say: “There are six thousand more people passing your shop a day than there were five years ago. Are you sure you’re a good businessman?”
Cities like Berkeley, Arlington and Cambridge experienced something different. Even as they cut back on surface parking, the number of people and jobs climbed upward, as did incomes. Less parking in these places has meant the urban fabric can be stitched back together and there is more space for shops, restaurants, jobs and other things that make cities great. More importantly, the parking isn’t needed. People own cars at higher rates, but they don’t use them as much. Instead, they live close to the urban core where upwards of 30 percent walk or bike to work.
Saskatoon still has not figured out this concept. The car is god here, leaving us with longer and longer commutes, a downtown wasteland of parking lots, and detached and isolated citizens who don’t know their neighbours.
It is true that our transit sucks and our winters are cold. But let’s have a radical vision, that really isn’t all that radical, because many, many other cities have already figured it out. More roads does not equal less traffic. Cities should not be built for cars but for people.