Urban planning AHC: No parking

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by phx1138, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. Expat Well-Known Member

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    Just to take another stab at a POD, link it into all those weird health fads that led to all that craziness up in Battle Creek. “We have determined that large open concentrations of complex machinery have the most deleterious effects on all aspects of human physiognomy. Our breath and scent organs recoil from their miasmatic emissions. Our ears and spirit recoil from their rampant disquietude. Our very eyes recoil from their pure unnaturality. Factories contain their machinery behind walls for a reason. It is only natural that we do the same with the unsettling auto-mobile.”

    If they could get folks to sign up for daily yogurt enemas IOTL, this line should be a piece of cake. Ha, though it also probably means the early arrival of the personal garage in the burbs.
     
  2. Whanztastic BohemianAmerican Defenestrater Monthly Donor

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    Need to attack it earlier, the rise of 'jaywalking' as a thing meant the turning of laws against humans towards cars. If that never occurs, streets remain total public access use, lowers car usage, lowers the amount of parking, lowers the public sense that buildings should have parking required minimums.
     
    Paolo Giusti, phx1138 and Expat like this.
  3. Joe Bonkers Bears are fast.

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    You know what would be cool?

    If someone were to invent a car that with the touch of a remote could be shrunk down to the size (and weight) of a Matchbox car. Simply arrive at your destination, shrink your car down, put it in your pocket and go on your way. When you leave, take it out of your pocket, restore it to normal size with the remote, and be off. No need for parking facilities of any kind. Of course, you'd need to make sure you took the schnauzer out of the back seat before you shrink it down....
     
  4. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    I think you're on to something, here. I think you're both right, & the timing is the key: finding the right point when society at large was (is) accepting of what look (in retrospect) like nutty fads & getting surface parking to be the "thing".

    I have to say, IDK when that could be... Early looks good. My sense has been, this needs a broader awareness of what's wrong with parking, & that means '60s & the hippie/counterculture, which is pretty late. I may be giving the '60s too much weight, tho. If Prohibition can take hold in the 1890s...

    That leaves the question, can a social movement in the 1920-40 period see cars as a sufficient social ill not to want to ban them outright, but try & restrict them? My first thought is Audubon Society or somebody saying, "We need to stop wasting land this way." (This could have benefits in curbing sprawl, too, which would also be a good thing.)

    Can I throw in the Depression (my usual fallback;) ) & suggest it be done at a time driving is already at a low, & a time when job creation (converting parking lots to garages, or parks, or something) is a need?

    While I have your attention,:openedeyewink: let me ask again: any thoughts on what would replace surface lots? I continue to favor parks, but that's pretty boring...;) On some of the bigger lots I've seen, new construction (& underground garages) seems to make more sense.
     
  5. Dave Howery laughs at your pain

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    I wonder about the ground level of an underground garage parking center... since it's already zoned for parking, wouldn't the 'top'/ground level be something like a premium parking lot, the place you can get out of fast? All you really need on all that space is a smallish building... the rest?
     
  6. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    Are you thinking of the surface level or the first "down"? The idea, as said, is none on the surface. First "down" (or "up" in a garage) isn't any more/less prized than now.

    Come to think of it, tho, garages might be able to get a premium for the street level...but my sense is, they'd do it like now, based on time spent.

    You might be able to arrange it so you could charge a premium by location with licence plate readers keyed to the street-level spots.

    Which is getting kinda off-point.;)
     
  7. Expat Well-Known Member

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    Replacing surface parking with underground garages and buildings seems like the most likely thing in cities. It’s what has always tended to replace them, after all (or just the free-standing garages).

    But yeah, we might even see mandates in a few cities for underground parking minimums on all new buildings of a certain dimension.

    I can think of a few examples of underground garages topped by parks. There’s two block’s worth of that immediately south of the Capitol in DC. Terrible park, poorly designed with restricted access points and the actual park being a total afterthought. But that doesn’t mean it has to always be that way.

    In my mind, the much more noticeable change would be in the streetscape. Taking away on-street parking opens up a lot more space. In the early days this might even be sold as a way to increase auto capacity and lead to more median strips and turn lanes, or delivery/drop-off lanes. There are a lot of one-way streets in my 19th century neighborhood that could easily be two-way with no parking lanes. Also will probably see wider sidewalks frequently, and maybe dedicated streetcar lanes in some places. More tree and flower boxes everywhere, more arbor medians. Much more common sidewalk cafes in a place like LA, with that weather they have. There’s no technological reason you couldn’t also have early cycling infrastructure, but that’s a whole different set of behaviors to explore.
     
  8. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    I do imagine a few fairly "niche" parks around businesses. (Think of a 7-11 or McDonald's all alone somewhere losing the 6-7 spaces out front.) Lots more trees & grass seems very likely, with attendant benefits to runoff & weather. (I don't recall what the "heat island" effect does to in-city weather more broadly, with impact on rain, but it's likely to be a lot cooler in summers, anyhow.) More than a few places will look very like afterthoughts--they are.;)

    What goes with 'em? I was picturing fairly simple "infrastructure", the likes of park benches, but expanding business into the parks (& off sidewalks?) could offer opportunities, even in places where whole new buildings might not be justified. Thx for that thought.:cool:
    Honestly, I hadn't considered going so far as to ban street parking. I confess, I have a different (from OTL) starting environment in mind, with more mass transit, so fewer cars in general, & different 'burb designs, with narrower, crookeder streets. That being true, a ban on street parking didn't seem necessary.

    If there are more garages (up or down), IMO, it might be possible for cities to do it, tho. Thx for that thought, too.:cool:
     
  9. Joe Bonkers Bears are fast.

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    Since my last reply was facetious, I'll be more serious this time:

    I'm with you on the off-street parking - an aerial photo of almost any city will confirm the shockingly large amount of space given over to keeping cars happy - but I think parallel parking on the sides of streets is something you'd probably want to retain where possible. The parked cars form a nice barrier between the street traffic and the sidewalk to protect pedestrians, and the presence of parked cars on the street tends to "calm" the traffic as well.

    In residential areas, even with an early POD there's probably going to need to be a fair amount of streetside parking until new construction allows for underground parking facilities to be retrofitted.
     
  10. bsmart Well-Known Member

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    Multi level parking structures came about when land was too expensive to dedicate strictly to parking. There may be ways where you can adjust the formulas so that it is more desirable in dense cities with higher property costs but there will still be small and medium size cities where it is cheaper to spread outward than upward (or downward). Also in many cases surface lots are 'temporary' they pop up when a building is demolished because a new project is coming. If a project requires the acquisition of multiple properties it can take years to complete the purchase then more years to plan and finance the development. surface lots allow some income to be derived from property that would otherwise sit unused.
     
  11. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    IMO, that's true because most streets aren't designed with pedestrians in mind. "Crookeder" streets would lower speeds (limits or no) & reduce the hazard.
    I'd say being sure every housing lot has provision for parking would eliminate most curbside parking.
    If I can get at most of it, in the big cities in particular, I'm fine with Smallville or Mayberry having surface parking.
    I wouldn't go after that. Except, from what I've seen locally, "temporary" tends to become "permanent", so there would need to be a time limit or something: either get a project built on it, or get it turned over to garage, underground, or park, within (say) 2yr.
     
  12. Mad Bad Rabbit Well-Known Member

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    Ok Ant Man
     
  13. RLBH Well-Known Member

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    Per the graph up-thread somewhere, car ownership levelled out in that time period at a substantial minority of US population. I'd suggest that it's possible in this era for someone to argue that surface parking spreads out a city, making it harder for the common man to go about his business. From there you might be able to get a mandate for new construction not to take up more than a certain amount of land above that required for the premises themselves, which would force all but the smallest new buildings to solutions other than surface parking.

    On street parking is a harder sell, but if you make cities more compact (as above) there'll automatically be less of it, and parking meters are likely to become necessary to control access.
     
  14. Expat Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I just assumed the OP also covered street parking, that's my bad. In my head, turning city folks against cars is also going to turn them against street parking, which if nothing else is the cause of so many accidents and so much gridlock.

    Of course permit-based street parking has been around for a long time in some places. Making it stricter might be a reasonable knock-on effect from TTL.

    I remember a proposal floated in DC a while ago (though not passed), where each resident would just be given a parking permit, whether they had a car or not. Afterwards, no new permits would be issued, essentially creating a new commodity market. Be interesting to see the effects of that a hundred years ago...
     
  15. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    I see thousands of discrimination lawsuits on the horizon.

    Minorities move to DC, and are locked out
     
  16. Joe Bonkers Bears are fast.

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    Streets in older city neighborhoods that are built on a grid are going to be an obstacle here (although in many older neighborhoods, like lower Manhattan or the center of Boston, streets already follow "crooked" patterns). But traffic islands and conversion of an occasional intersection into Blah-Blah Square will help break up grids.

    In neighborhoods where there are townhouses or row houses, there may not be room for parking in each lot; there some "neighborhood garages" might have to go up when some new construction replaces some of the old.

    Obviously, what I'm saying here applies to urban residential districts. Central city commercial districts are a different thing altogether.
     
  17. Dave Howery laughs at your pain

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    I was thinking of the surface level... demand might be high if it was allowed, as you leave the area faster than those up/down in the garage. OTOH... for areas with harsh weather, having your car exposed to snow/freezing rain/hail might not be wanted...
     
  18. Expat Well-Known Member

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    Could be! Before this thread I didn't realize, but apparently the Supreme Court has handled parking cases before.

    Though in DC's case, the African American community was largely in place more than a hundred years ago, predating the Great Migration. So a lot of permits would start out in African American hands, if the scheme really did go through.

    But I think you'd be surprised at the lack of general outrage. There are tons of licenses and things that people just accept as natural and don't give a second thought to. Or at least not enough of a thought to rebel against, successfully.

    If they did mount a challenge, I think it would probably be in the form of a gradual increase in permits, with a wait-list forming. They wouldn't scrap it outright.
     
  19. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    Then Wilson is Prez. How long before they would be screwed out of those permits?
     
  20. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

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    No bad. You're making me think in ways I never had. (Thx to everybody for that.:):) )
    I imagined street parking being dealt with separately, as a local issue, with a national plan for parking lots, because that strikes me as a bigger (& more intractable) problem.

    I also imagined the growth of parking garages making street parking unnecessary, as capacity rises. (That may be taken up by the increased traffic engendered.:eek::oops::oops: It may drive a greater need for garages. Does that lead to the same gridlock as with highways: more capacity actually raises use?:eek::eek: Where's the "top" of that graph?:eek: )
    That works. It might fall under the same rubric as Prohibition, namely, done in the name of betterment of society.l
    I'd agree you get less parking with less sprawl, but I don't see a need for meters on suburban streets. Even given smaller lots, I'd say parking could be allowed for without requiring it on street with meters. However...
    That's also true, & that's a factor I hadn't thought of.

    What I picture, tho, is mass transit taking many cars out of cities entirely, & the garages taking up the transitory traffic (shoppers, tourists).

    I wouldn't go so far as to rebuild entire older neighborhoods.:eek::eek: I'd favor traffic circles at every intersection, tho.;) (Put grass & trees on all of 'em, while you're at it.;) )