Given the info in this post at The Urbanophile, I sure hope we do!
The author is specifically talking about Buffalo, New York, but this is an issue that most cities of any substantial size have to wrestle with all of the time.  I can’t count all of the times I’ve heard people complain about parking in downtown Richmond — and I know that I have at certain times/events.

Here’s an excerpt that I felt summed up the key point of the post to me:

Downtown can never compete with suburban office parks on the basis of convenient and affordable parking. To compete successfully on that basis would mean the destruction of all of downtown’s remaining (and emerging) value.

By definition, downtown can never out-compete the suburbs on suburban, automobile-based terms. By necessity, parking takes up a tremendous amount of land, creating lots of dead, open space, which the suburbs have plenty of. In fact, that’s the suburbs’ main asset: lots of open space. A city’s main amenity is not open land, but density, walkability, a diverse mix of uses, and the quality of the streets and other public spaces. These are the areas in which the suburbs cannot out-compete downtown.

That doesn’t mean that we should ignore parking entirely.  Complaints about parking are a symptom, not the actual problem.

Parking will always be an issue if everyone is coming from out of town to visit the downtown.  More importantly, we should focus on bringing more businesses and residents downtown — increasing the walkability and decreasing reliance on cars will make parking less of a problem.

But more to the point of the post, downtown isn’t supposed to be a wonderland of surface parking lots.  It’s supposed to be a dense area with lots of people and businesses, and events that bring more people from all over.  If the downtown is a vibrant place, then people will deal with the parking issues (they will still complain, but they will still come).  If you want lots of open parking, go to the suburbs — that’s what they’re good at.

There a good discussion in their comment section, so be sure to check that out while you’re reading through the original post.

Photo credit greeneyedhedgehog

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