Garcia on downtown’s parking “myth”

David Garcia writes:

“Thought I’d pass along my latest piece specifically on the myth that downtown has no parking. Chock full of both quantitative and qualitative evidence.”

On his blog, Stockton City Limits, Garcia proves there is ample parking, though it may be mismanaged.

Then he adds, “I think the bigger issue here is behavior. Stocktonians are not accustomed to walking more than a few feet to get to their destination and, as a result, walking one or two blocks seems excessive to a lot of people. But it’s time we get over the expectation that parking should be free, convenient and abundant. This is not a realistic expectation in an urban environment.”

Which we should know. After all, downtown was high-density and cracklin’ for a century. But sprawl, car-centric planning and downtown’s desiccation appear to have wiped it form the collective memory.

Full disclosure: Garcia is a partner in Ten Space, the downtown redevelopment firm. Ten Space’s Open Windows Project has come under modest fire by property owners concerned it will eat up their parking.

I would just add that our bedroom-community expectations are not the only problem. Downtown currently lacks the payoff for pedestrianism. So while Garcia is right, people are never going to feel it until the attraction of downtown destinations outweighs the minor inconvenience of walking a bit.

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