Parking Spaces Might Become Obsolete Giving Way To Uber-Friendly Future
Spent you morning circling the block for a parking spot? If Uber has its way, this problem will cease to exist.
God, guns and cars. The three staples of American culture. Well, get ready to scrap cars from the list. It turns out Americans would rather have an Uber voucher than the hassle of parking and maintaining their love buckets. And that’s just fine with landlords, who would prefer to do away with costly parking spaces that sit vacant most of the time.
We’re not simply talking about swanky condo residences in city center—but the acres and acres of space in suburban shopping malls and sports stadiums, which are only utilized to their maximum potential one or two days a week. Ride services such as Uber and Lyft, along with the promise of driverless cars, represent the “single biggest game-changer for real estate” over the next several decades, Dave Bragg, an analyst at real-estate research firm Green Street Advisors told the Wall St. Journal.
Last week we revealed how British supermarket chain, Tesco is planning to convert some of the extra parking space in its London location into residential development. Near downtown Los Angeles, new residents at the 41-unit Eleanor Apartments now receive $100 in Uber concessions every month instead of on-site parking spaces.
Curbside drop-offs, similar to airports at shopping malls and sports stadiums, also make sense for car owners who don’t want to be stuck looking for a parking spot or in congestion inching in and out of venues. Of course, there’s also an ecological component to the argument for decreasing parking spaces. Less cars equals less pollution.
“European cities demonstrate that if you make a city center more convenient, people won’t think that driving is the best and only alternative,” said Michael Kodransky, co-author of a 2011 study “Europe’s Parking U-Turn: from Accommodation to Regulation,” published by the New York City-based Institution for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) for which he is the global research manager.
Whilst a discussion of parking zoning codes that accompany commercial buildings may cause your eyes to glaze over, it’s worth knowing a few basic facts. Box chain stores in malls don’t randomly decide how much parking space they’ll need. Codes are strictly monitored during construction and it works out to be around 2.5-3.5 spaces per 1000 square feet of building. When you factor in aisles and driveways, it’s more like 5 spaces per 1000 square feet. Clearly, on a Tuesday afternoon in July mall managers will have acres and acres of burning asphalt on their hands. Never has the term “waste of space” been more applicable.
Europeans are leading the way when it comes to a parking prohibition. Paris invested €15 million ($20 million in physical blocks, like bollards, to prevent parking,) London levied an emissions charge, while Amsterdam and Denmark have largely pedestrian city centers with a dramatic reduction in cars looking for parking spots. Fewer parking spots mean increased green and public spaces and better quality of life.
The advent of driverless cars will further bolster the movement away from parking spaces. Green Street expects mass adoption to begin around 2030 and to be completed 15 years later. Uber already has suggested its entire fleet would be driverless by 2030.
“Two-vehicle households and owners residing in urban areas should be the most likely to find driverless ride-hailing to make much more economic sense than ownership,” said Green Street.
When exactly America decides to forgo its affair with the motor car is up for debate. But what cannot be denied is that, if there is nowhere to put it, it may happen sooner rather than later.
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