Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The 8-minute commute

Today's Buffalo Rising links to a study by Texas A&M on traffic congestion in the US. As one who knows anything about Buffalo can attest, there isn't much congestion here. A 20-minute commute is a 20-minute commute. There might be an accident on the road that adds a bit of time, but for the most part, the traffic reports are laughably boring.

"Everything's fine as you past the big blue water tower".

This comes on the heels of the weekend when I read this at Salon (you have to watch an ad). It talks about regulations in the US that demand parking:
Our story begins in the 1920s with the birth of a piece of esoteric regulation, the "minimum parking requirement." Before parking meters and residential parking permits, cities feared that they were running out of street parking. So municipalities began ordering businesses to provide parking and wrote zoning restrictions to ensure it. Columbus, Ohio, was first, requiring apartment buildings in 1923 to provide parking. In 1939, Fresno, Calif., decreed that hospitals and hotels must do the same. By the '50s, the parking trend exploded. In 1946, only 17 percent of cities had parking requirements. Five years later, 71 percent did.
In this article, Buffalo is cited, "Half of downtown Buffalo, N.Y., is devoted to parking." That means, we not only can get to where we want rather quickly, we almost always can find a place to park. Indeed, on my way to my car, I walk through a parking lot, and I pass two more of them. Buffalo is, indeed, a city full of parking lots.

And a parking lot adds nothing of value to a city. Nothing. Our company subsidizes the parking. I sort of wish they didn't. That would force people to contemplate different options. Maybe they would still pay. Maybe they wouldn't. Maybe they would consider a different options. Like living in the city, carpooling, or even transit. Because while Buffalo isn't that congested, less cars on the road would be better.

Maybe we could then build things on the parking lots.

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