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Parking, downtown, & life

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  • Richard Risemberg
    ... And a link: http://www.uctc.net/access/25/Access%2025%20-%2002%20- %20People,%20Parking,%20and%20Cities.pdf -- Richard Risemberg http://www.newcolonist.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2004
      A quote:

      > Take, for example, the different treatment given by Los Angeles and
      > San Francisco to their concert halls. For a downtown concert hall, Los
      > Angeles requires, as a minimum, fifty timesmore parking than San
      > Francisco allows as its maximum. Thus the San Francisco Symphony
      > built its home, Louise Davies Hall, without a parking garage, while
      > Disney Hall, the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, did not
      > open until seven years after its parking garage was built.
      > Disney Hall’s six-level, 2,188-space underground garage cost $110
      > million to build (about $50,000 per space). Financially troubled Los
      > Angeles County, which built the garage, went into debt to finance it,
      > expecting that parking revenues would repay the borrowed money. But
      > the garage was completed in 1996, and Disney Hall—which suffered from
      > a budget less grand than its vision—became knotted in delays and
      > didn’t open until late 2003. During the seven years in between,
      > parking revenue fell far short of debt payments (few people park in an
      > underground structure if there is nothing above it) and the county, by
      > that point nearly bankrupt, had to subsidize the garage even as it
      > laid off employees.
      > The county owns the land beneath Disney Hall, and its lease for the
      > site specifies that Disney Hall must schedule at least 128 concerts
      > each winter season. Why 128? That’s the minimum number of concerts
      > that will generate the parking revenue necessary to pay the debt
      > service on the garage. And in its first year, Disney Hall scheduled
      > exactly 128 concerts. The parking garage, ostensibly designed to serve
      > the Philharmonic, now has the Philharmonic serving it; the minimum
      > parking requirements have led to a minimum concert requirement.
      > The money spent on parking has altered the hall in other ways, too,
      > shifting its design toward drivers and away from pedestrians. The
      > presence of a six-story subterranean garage means most concert patrons
      > arrive from underneath, rather than outside, the hall. The hall’s
      > designers clearly understood this, and so while the hall has a fairly
      > impressive street entrance, its more magisterial gateway is a vertical
      > one: an “escalator cascade” that flows up from the parking structure
      > and ends in the foyer. This has profound implications for street
      > life. A concertgoer can now drive to Disney Hall, park beneath it,
      > ride up into it, see a show, and then reverse the whole process—and
      > never set foot on a sidewalk in downtown LA. The full experience of
      > an iconic Los Angeles building begins and ends in its parking garage,
      > not in the city itself.
      > Visitors to downtown San Francisco are unlikely to have such a
      > privatized and encapsulated experience. When a concert or theater
      > performance lets out in San Francisco, people stream onto the
      > sidewalks, strolling past the restaurants, bars, bookstores and flower
      > shops that are open and well-lit. For those who have driven, it is a
      > long walk to their cars, which are probably in a public facility
      > unattached to any specific restaurant or shop. The presence of open
      > shops and people on the street encourages other people to be out as
      > well. People want to be on streets with other people, and they avoid
      > streets that are empty, because empty streets are eerie and menacing.
      > Although the absence of parking requirements does not guarantee a
      > vibrant area, their presence certainly inhibits it. “The more downtown
      > is broken up and interspersed with parking lots and garages,” Jane
      > Jacobs argued in 1961, “the duller and deader it becomes ... and there
      > is nothing more repellent than a dead downtown.”

      And a link:

      Richard Risemberg
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