Transit Center Parking: More? Or Less?
Parking at our Transit Center is a highly debated subject. Even on our City Council there are a variety of views. Some Council members believe that with the coming of light rail, another parking garage is absolutely necessary. Others have suggested the existing surface parking lot could be converted into mixed-use, transit-oriented development. This article at CityLab discusses some recent studies as well as real-life examples of where limiting parking at transit centers can reduce the overall vehicle miles travelled, and where it can't.
So the case for removing park-and-ride facilities becomes a bit clearer. If the goal is to reduce vehicle miles driven, then mixed-use transit-oriented development with modest parking will be the best way to go closer toward the city, with bigger park-and-ride lots reserved for very remote stations. That's especially true once factoring in the high cost of maintaining a parking lot, the local economic potential of a mixed-use development, and political practicality.
We have recognized as a city that we have to grow differently — we have to grow up, not out — and the places we start doing that is around transit stations. The fact that we've surrounded a transit station, which is the ultimate in walkable, with a sea of parking just doesn't make sense any more.