The sun sets over the sea of parking downtown.
Ahh the great pillar of suburban society: vehicle storage. There has been a lot of talk recently about downtown's parking situation. First a story breaks that the spanking new parking garage on the corner of Kearsley and Beech is only about 60 percent occupied and still has a ten million dollar unpaid tab. Days later we discover that the DDA issued parking tickets are unenforceable, and therefore have been encouraging long term parkers to park in the street's 2 hour spots instead of in the parking structures. The DDA's response to this is to re-install parking meters along the streets downtown.
While this certainly brings up points as to how appropriate it is for the city to charge downtown patrons to park. I am just as interested in discussing the importance that we as a society place on parking. Why, after demolishing entire blocks of historic buildings for surface parking and after erecting several mammoth parking structures do we still have such a demand for parking?
Should we instead invest our resources on making it easier to get downtown on foot or by mass transit? Improving our non automobile infrastructure would certainly reduce the amount of parking needed, if less people heading downtown were doing so in cars. Or is the need to drive our own vehicle everywhere we go so deeply ingrained in our culture that accommodating more and more vehicles is necessary?