Saturday, 31 October 2015

Parking cars. They take up a huge amount of space on the road. What else could it be used for, even just 12.5% of it?

     If you take a look outside at the nearest road, chances are that there are parking cars on it. Even if it is well designed, like in this post by David Hembrow: Car parking, it still takes up space on the roads. A huge amount of land is turned over to the storage of metal boxes on wheels and an engine. It does absolutely nothing. Except for occupying valuable space in the urban realm. If we even turned over 1 out of every 8 parking spots, we would have a huge amount of space to do something else with it.

     We already should be building curb extensions where it is illegal to park cars but is ordinarily permitted along a road (like near a fire hydrant or at a bus stop), but elsewhere, reclaiming parking spots to use for things like plants, trees, bike parking, benches, wayfinding, eating areas, tables, (the latter 4 usually used in commercial areas) (note that all of these alternative amenities should be protected with a curb, for the bike parking, use a rolled curb so that you do not have to dismount and lift your bike up, so that it is less likely that cars will try to use it and makes it feel permanent), and anything except car parking, is really effective to create a completely different feel of the street.

     Combined with making remaining car parking like the parking bays the Hembrow blog post talked about, with the slight elevation, curb extensions, very different paving material, etc, and making the street itself suitable, like removing car parking on main roads, like Jasper Ave, and the mixed 30 km/h brick paved traffic calmed street. Street, place, not road. Like this example in Downtown: Good Local Road Design

     Sometimes, you could even make the parking area almost exactly like how the sidewalk is, as if the street did not have car parking. But it would be, it would be signed and marked with white bricks on the sidewalk to make it clear where it is. Here is the example I mean: Mariaplaats. It would be useful in commercial areas where you ban motor vehicles during the day but allows deliveries at night. The sidewalk is fully usable during the day.

     We need to realize that we put far too much space on the roads towards parking cars. Things that are useful to people at all times, bus stops, plants, benches, wayfinding, bike parking, widened sidewalks, etc should take their place.

     Dedicating 1/8 of the parking cars towards these greater goods is a key step in making people realize just how wide our roads really are and what they could be used for. Don't make it so that you cannot park at all, but most people on a residential street like the one I live on have garages and visitors are infrequent. Having 7/8s of the parking left should be plenty. Possibly even too much. The more you don't need parking, the better it is.

     If you can entice people to ride by creating 30 km/h zones and cycle paths elsewhere which are efficient, subjectively, socially and objectively safe, fast and wide, you need far less parking. Assume that transit got up to 20% of the modal share, cycling up to 25% and walking up to 10%. Assume that 25% of people were able to abandon cars completely. That would mean that you would need about 25% less of the space for parking cars, you could eliminate 1 in every four spaces where this kind of modal share is present.

Write your councillors and traffic planners in your area to fight for this kind of retaking the streets. If enough people can agree, the less opposition the politicians and road engineers can put up.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting