Both Sides of the Parking Spectrum

Examples from California and Texas exemplify two extremes in thinking about parking.

2 minute read

February 26, 2018, 2:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


500 Kirkham Street

Rendering for "The Hub," designed by Lowney Architecture. | via Socket Site

Socket Site reveals the plans and renderings for a development proposed a block away from the West Oakland BART station. Developer Panoramic Interests would build a total of 1,032 residential units and 44,000 square feet of ground floor retail, restaurant and "flex space" around three buildings—the highest of which would rise 23 stories.

The headlining detail of the development for those interesting in parking reform: the proposal only includes eight off-street parking spaces. That doesn't mean the lack of parking is totally copacetic with the Oakland Planning Department, as explained in a report from planning staff included in the article:

“The project proposal does not provide adequate off-street parking and the application has yet to demonstrate analysis that justifies that additional parking can’t be accommodated in the [development].

Staff is concerned that: (1) what little parking is provided is visually prominent; and that (2) with no on-site parking for over 1,000 residential units, even minimal parking demand for the project would negatively affect public parking and circulation in the surrounding area.”

On the other end of the parking spectrum—the totally other extreme side of the parking spectrum, a proposed development in Austin, Texas would replace a surface parking lot with a 25-story building. Of the 25 stories proposed for the 405 Colorado St. project, 13 stories would be devoted to marking.  

The Austin Design Commission had rejected the project, but "Brandywine Realty Trust, the developer, has secured a density bonus for the project in order to increase the allowable floor area ratio from 8-to-1 up to 13-to-1," reports Caleb Pritchard. "To achieve the bonus, Brandywine promised to provide Great Streets improvements on surrounding sidewalks and achieve at least a two-star rating under Austin Energy’s Green Building Program." The Design Commission "held that a higher number of floors dedicated to car storage rather than habitable space is not an appropriate increase of density envisioned by the guidelines."

In each case, development plans have proposed a scheme that pushes the boundaries of parking requirements—on one side favoring an abundance, and the other a near total lack—and planning staff or advisors are responded in each case by pushing the proposal back toward a middle area.

Monday, February 26, 2018 in Socket Site

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