The Athens, OH, city council is discussing the removal or reduction of parking requirements for new development and possibly for existing stores in their downtown area. Here’s a great story on the discussion.
The deal is this — when you have parking requirements for businesses and apartment/condo development you usually end up with more space than needed. This means that the apartments cost more, housing costs go up, and people have to pay more for shelter.
In emerging downtowns, the problem is different. You have an empty building that was a hardware store. A restaurant wants to move in. They can’t because the hardware store only has 10 parking spaces in the back and the code says restaurants need 25. So the store sits empty. This goes on in towns and cities across the fruited plain.
Stores empty because there’s "not enough parking." Of course that’s absurd. Read the article. Downtown Athens has a plethora of parking. I have seen shopping area after shopping area that has plenty of parking, its just a bit difficult to find. Proper signage and perhaps a few traffic directors during peak times and the problem is solved
The alternative is on street valet. The valet company finds nooks and crannies to place the cars, and folks simply drop off their Belchfire 8s with the valets and go about their shopping or eating or whatever. Works great in city after city.
Stopping development because the business that want’s to go in need "more" parking that is available is absurd. If a business is successful, they will find a way to park the cars.
Way to go Athens. Keep it up. Go Bobcats.