Donald Shoup has written about the high cost of free parking, but that is nothing compared to the really high cost of underground car parking. As fewer and fewer bike-riding and walking downtown types own cars and spaces go empty, those who don't own cars actually are subsidizing those who do.
Not in Portland, where Michael Anderson of Bike Portland describes a new development with a whacking big underground bike parking garage with 1200 spaces. The architect thinks that might not be enough for the 657 apartments.
The demographic that we expect to show up here is going to be young urban professionals and it's going to be, we think, young families as well," said Kyle Andersen of Portland-based GBD Architects. "They all have bikes. When I think about my own neighborhood, the families I see riding there, if you move those people into a building they're still going to have a bike. I think you have to be ready for that demographic to be there, otherwise you're restricting yourself.
There will also be a valet service, like the one Mike described in Portland's south waterfront.
It's a trend in cities across North America: ditching the underground parking or dramatically reducing the requirement for it. The Portland project has 328 residential parking spaces, but now developers are building projects with no car parking at all, like this 42 storey building in Toronto that has zero car parking and 315 bike spaces, one for each unit. 15 years ago the developer's rule was that you couldn't sell a condo without a parking space; now you can sell whole buildings without them. That's how much our car culture has changed.