Denver has a parking problem. The problem is that everyone wants free parking and they want the city to provide it. The problem is that we’ve written free parking into the zoning code in the form of parking minimums for all new developments outside of downtown. The problem is that we’ve built our lives on the theory that every place we go will have abundant free parking. We’ve even built our neighborhoods with the expectation that we’ll always have convenient free parking on the street in front of our homes and businesses.
But why is this a problem? Why shouldn’t we expect free and abundant parking everywhere throughout the city? Is this not America? Do we not have freedom and cars? Did our founding fathers not say we are entitled to life, liberty, and the parking space in front of our house? I’m glad you asked.
*pulls up podium*
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Parking is not the solution to our woes, it is the cause of our traffic. Parking is why our streets are packed with cars. After all, why take the bus when there’s free parking right out front of my destination? Why walk to the neighborhood shop when I can easily park at the mega-lot in front of the big box store? Why ride my bike to work when the building has a multi-story garage just waiting to be filled and is otherwise empty and wasted space? In summary: parking encourages driving, which creates traffic. Traffic clogs our streets because there is little incentive to use other modes or find alternate destinations. Stop with the parking and the traffic will be reduced.
Parking is not the solution to our woes, it is cause of our poverty. Parking is why our budget is screwed up. After all, who pays more taxes, parking lots or businesses? Parking lots or homes? Parking lots or literally anything else? Even parks add beauty to a city. Even utilities add function. Parking adds asphalt, which is mostly empty, which rips the fabric of neighborhoods into isolated shreds, and which reduces the amount of space in the city devoted to productive use. Stop with the parking and the budget will improve.
Parking is not the solution to our woes, it is the cause of our isolation. By supporting car parking over housing we exclude people from our city. After all, how do we increase housing when we force entrepreneurs to spend tens of thousands of dollars on parking spots instead of homes, or businesses, or amenities? How do we meet neighbors when we’ve only got thirty seconds in between them opening the car door and then walking into their houses? How do we meet the neighborhood kids when it’s too dangerous for them to play on the street? Stop with the parking and our social contact will increase.
Our neighborhoods are falling apart, in some cases are being torn apart, by the addition of parking. It’s expensive, it causes congestion, it causes pollution, it causes unsightly and untended garbage, it isolates people in places that feel unsafe, and it leaves no space for building relationships or even for meeting new people. Stop with the parking and our fortunes will turn.
Parking is not the solution to our woes, it is the ugly destroyer of our city.