God Gave Me A Parking Space

The Austin Post carried a great article last month: The Pain of Downtown Parking: Monster or Myth?  That got Movability wanting to weigh in.

Let’s start with a little make believe scenario that we are sure none of our readers have ever experienced.

So, you just drove your car downtown because you were running late for work, you had to run errands over your lunch hour, and now? Now, you are looking around for the parking space that is, after all, your God given right.

Only, you’ve been tricked into thinking God gave you a parking space when it was merely a smart decision by some property owners who wanted you as a customer or tenant.  In a time long ago, when there were fewer people coming downtown there was also plenty of land.  We could have roads wide enough to handle all the cars. Public and private property owners could give free or low cost parking to make it easier for people to come downtown.  Now, the same smart property owner is doing some recalculations and that may mean doing something different with “your” parking space.

For several decades there hasn’t been enough land downtown. There are more people wanting a place to work or live. That means more buildings, more shops, more restaurants, and so on. Naturally, the value of each square foot of dirt has risen dramatically, putting ever more pressure on property owners to consider the use of every inch of flat earth. Responsible property owners, whether to tax payers or investors, have been rethinking the “highest and best” use of their land and, believe it or not, they are deciding to use “your” parking space for a new building, parking garage, and even food trailer as a more productive use of land.

So, here are a few things to consider when searching for “your” parking spot:

Don’t Drive Alone – It will make parking for you and many others easier. Carpool, use transit, bicycle, etc. or just beat the rush and come earlier to find a space. We can help.

Park Smart – Parking in the first available spot you find is the quickest option. As much as 30% of downtown traffic is caused by people circling blocks looking for parking. The City, Park Me (a mobile app), and the new wayfinding/signs can help you find parking quickly.

Go Off-Street – Less than 20% of available parking is “on-street.” Increasingly, on-street parking will get priced to encourage more turn over, giving more people a shot for quick parking needs.  Use a valet or  garage parking for longer-term parking.

People Want to Be Here – Finally, like traffic congestion, competition for parking is a side effect of success. You can’t find parking because too many people found it before you and everyone is coming here because downtown has good jobs, good restaurants, and lots more to make it attractive. Discover new ways we can all come together and enjoy downtown. Finally, if that includes driving and parking on-street try the new EasyPay, no more running out to the meter.

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