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  #61  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 2:52 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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170 units but only 92 parking spaces? So just a little over half of the residents have the option of owning a car?

Is that normal? I've heard all the talk that urban dwellers don't need cars and don't want cars but is that an actuality in Halifax? Or, does it simply mean that those who can't get spaces will rent spaces nearby.

The reason I ask is that I don't think Halifax is a big enough city to offer that fulfilling of an urban experience... yet. Maybe 20 years down the road when it is built up a little more, and the transit system is (hopefully) better, but for now how many people centralize their lives around a few square kilometers of Halifax's urban core?
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  #62  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 2:55 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Sit back and watch, everyone gets a say, and then it gets built. Happens every time.
Correct you are.
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  #63  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 3:31 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
170 units but only 92 parking spaces? So just a little over half of the residents have the option of owning a car?

Is that normal? I've heard all the talk that urban dwellers don't need cars and don't want cars but is that an actuality in Halifax? Or, does it simply mean that those who can't get spaces will rent spaces nearby.

The reason I ask is that I don't think Halifax is a big enough city to offer that fulfilling of an urban experience... yet. Maybe 20 years down the road when it is built up a little more, and the transit system is (hopefully) better, but for now how many people centralize their lives around a few square kilometers of Halifax's urban core?
I actually think we're behind the curve in terms of the expectation that even the most central, urban locations require parking facilities as if they were in Bayer's Lake.
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  #64  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 3:40 PM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
170 units but only 92 parking spaces? So just a little over half of the residents have the option of owning a car?

Is that normal? I've heard all the talk that urban dwellers don't need cars and don't want cars but is that an actuality in Halifax? Or, does it simply mean that those who can't get spaces will rent spaces nearby.

The reason I ask is that I don't think Halifax is a big enough city to offer that fulfilling of an urban experience... yet. Maybe 20 years down the road when it is built up a little more, and the transit system is (hopefully) better, but for now how many people centralize their lives around a few square kilometers of Halifax's urban core?
I live in a tower downtown and I can report, just based on visuals, that in the two level parking garage, only about a 1/4 of parking spaces are used by residents. The rest stay empty (they are not offered to the public, AFAIK). There are many more units than parking spots as well.

More parking spaces always better (helps drive down costs of parking downtown by providing competition, more spaces for convenience for commuters, etc). But I would guess you'll get a lot of international students in this new building, all who will be walking.
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  #65  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 3:48 PM
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"More parking spaces always better (helps drive down costs of parking downtown by providing competition..."

I'd argue the exact opposite. The less parking spaces the better as having fewer spaces helps drive up the cost of parking which discourages automobile usage downtown, which in turn reduces the strain on roads and bridges. Not to mention that having large numbers of parking spaces in every development drives up development cost which is passed down to residents making downtown less affordable and attractive even to the many people who wouldn't need a car.
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  #66  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 4:12 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
170 units but only 92 parking spaces? So just a little over half of the residents have the option of owning a car?

Is that normal? I've heard all the talk that urban dwellers don't need cars and don't want cars but is that an actuality in Halifax? Or, does it simply mean that those who can't get spaces will rent spaces nearby.

The reason I ask is that I don't think Halifax is a big enough city to offer that fulfilling of an urban experience... yet. Maybe 20 years down the road when it is built up a little more, and the transit system is (hopefully) better, but for now how many people centralize their lives around a few square kilometers of Halifax's urban core?
A no-car condo was built in Calgary last year, and that city is significantly less urban-scaled than Halifax (at least, central Halifax). If they can do it there they can do it here. I live in the Hydrostone, and the only reason I have a car is because my girlfriend works in Amherst several days a week. If it weren't for that we'd ditch the car in a second. It's ridiculously expensive and totally unnecessary for our day-to-day life in the city.

That would be even more true on SGR. I think that in this one neighbourhood, at least, it's as easy to go car-less as in pretty much anywhere in Canada.
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  #67  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 4:17 PM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
"More parking spaces always better (helps drive down costs of parking downtown by providing competition..."

I'd argue the exact opposite. The less parking spaces the better as having fewer spaces helps drive up the cost of parking which discourages automobile usage downtown, which in turn reduces the strain on roads and bridges. Not to mention that having large numbers of parking spaces in every development drives up development cost which is passed down to residents making downtown less affordable and attractive even to the many people who wouldn't need a car.
While I agree in principle with reducing car usage, I think this way of thinking will hurt, rather than help, downtown.

The reality is that most population growth in the next decade will still be out in the suburbs. And so businesses will want to cater to the growth areas. So, if we want businesses to open downtown, and stay there instead of biz parks, then we need to make it easy for families to visit downtown. While I think that means improving public transit options-- i think LRT could be huge to help downtown for this very reason--- for the foreseeable future, people move their family around in cars. And we just don't have the population base to shun suburbia if we want downtown to be vibrant.

Also, I would say that the costing of parking spaces will have only extremely marginal effect on automobile use, especially given our public transit is so poor, so most families who would wish to come downtown will want convenient parking. I do think people in HRM are entitled and expect convenient AND free parking, which is absurd, but over time, they'll get over that. So long as there are ample parking spaces, via parking garages in convenient locations like this, people will come downtown, park, and shop. In fact, one of the biggest challenges for downtown over the last 20 years was the other impact of zero downtown development-- there were no new underground parking lots being built because there was no developments happening. In, Toronto and most major cities, new developments brought online new parking spaces, making parking less costly and also very convenient-- we've relied on surface parking and street parking -- both inconvenient, with little capacity, and in the case of surface lots-- ugly and inefficient.

I also think you're wrong about the economics of developments. Parking garages help increase the size and scope of developments because it's means of sustaining overall costs in the long term. Owners rent spots to tenants and then on weekends/weekdays to the public, it is income they wouldn't otherwise have. Developers would add bigger lots if they could -- they're not costly to build or maintain if done right, compared to actual buildings.

If we make it impossible to park, businesses like Urban Outfitters will simply not stay. They'll move to suburban malls and we'll go back to dead downtown streets.

If you truly want to reduce car usage, you need a combination of (1) steep road tolls and (2) reliable transit (LRT / subway) that families will use.

We don't have (2) and our politicians are too spineless for (1).
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  #68  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 4:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
A no-car condo was built in Calgary last year, and that city is significantly less urban-scaled than Halifax (at least, central Halifax). If they can do it there they can do it here. I live in the Hydrostone, and the only reason I have a car is because my girlfriend works in Amherst several days a week. If it weren't for that we'd ditch the car in a second. It's ridiculously expensive and totally unnecessary for our day-to-day life in the city.

That would be even more true on SGR. I think that in this one neighbourhood, at least, it's as easy to go car-less as in pretty much anywhere in Canada.
I think it's silly to go car-less given how sparse parking is right now downtown. While I don't think we need to go overboard in terms of spots, for reasons I note above, we need more parking capacity in and around this area. Once we have decent parking capacity, then maybe car-less developments make sense. Right now, I'm tired of hearing "no parking" grumbling constantly. So, let's build parking garages to shut these people up.
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  #69  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 4:35 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Thanks for chiming in. I guess it's a little different than I thought it was.

For me, I would feel pretty hemmed in if I didn't have the freedom to travel around the province or elsewhere in the Maritimes that a car affords. Nova Scotia has such diverse and interesting areas to visit that are all just an hour or so from Halifax that it's hard to imagine not being able to visit them. Living downtown would not reduce my desire to be able to take a drive along the sea shore, have a nice lunch and walkabout in Lunenburg or buy some fresh fruit and veggies in the valley. Just shows that there are many different ways to live your life, I suppose.

Just curious, CF, do you know what percentage of parking spaces your building has compared to the number of units?

For excess parking spaces, I would think it would be better if these buildings made some provisions for paid public parking as that would help offset the costs while providing a service to the public.

NE, I have some doubts that restricting the amount of parking spots downtown would do anything except encourage more parking on the street. IMHO, the best way to effectively reduce automobile usage downtown without hurting the downtown economy (i.e. forcing suburban shoppers to go to the box stores rather than shopping downtown) is to provide a transit service that is efficient and convenient.

Regarding wear on our infrastructure, I don't have any data to back this up but I do believe the lion's share of wear and tear on our roads and bridges are caused by large truck traffic, due to their shear axle weight, especially in the winter/spring thaw cycles. And, lack of maintenance which allows water to penetrate the pavement and freeze during the winter.

Presumably, the amount taken in by fuel taxes and bridge tolls should reasonably offset any wear and tear done by regular automobiles.
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  #70  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 4:51 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
A no-car condo was built in Calgary last year, and that city is significantly less urban-scaled than Halifax (at least, central Halifax). If they can do it there they can do it here. I live in the Hydrostone, and the only reason I have a car is because my girlfriend works in Amherst several days a week. If it weren't for that we'd ditch the car in a second. It's ridiculously expensive and totally unnecessary for our day-to-day life in the city.

That would be even more true on SGR. I think that in this one neighbourhood, at least, it's as easy to go car-less as in pretty much anywhere in Canada.
Interesting. I suppose it's really about supply and demand. If there are enough people who want to live car-less it will float, and those who wish to have cars will look elsewhere for a place to live. Thanks all for the input.

FWIW, there are cheap ways to maintain car ownership, but it involves learning about how they work and being willing to do some routine maintenance and repairs yourself. A savvy car buyer can find an older model that has depreciated severely but still is in good condition (admittedly a challenge in rust-prone NS, but still doable) and keep it on the road for relatively small costs (basic insurance is all that's needed on an older vehicle). Right now gas is cheap, but we all know that can change on a moment's notice.
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  #71  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 5:03 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Thanks for chiming in. I guess it's a little different than I thought it was.

For me, I would feel pretty hemmed in if I didn't have the freedom to travel around the province or elsewhere in the Maritimes that a car affords. Nova Scotia has such diverse and interesting areas to visit that are all just an hour or so from Halifax that it's hard to imagine not being able to visit them. Living downtown would not reduce my desire to be able to take a drive along the sea shore, have a nice lunch and walkabout in Lunenburg or buy some fresh fruit and veggies in the valley. Just shows that there are many different ways to live your life, I suppose.
I feel the same way. The thing is, it's cheaper to rent a car once a month (or even twice a month) for those kinds of trips than it is to own a car, with the payments, insurance, and maintenance costs that entails. When I lived in Toronto I'd road trip at least once a month into rural Ontario, and renting was much cheaper than being saddled with my own vehicle.

It's true though, that parking garages in new developments can partly be given over to public parking. Hadn't thought of that.
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  #72  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 5:09 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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I feel the same way. The thing is, it's cheaper to rent a car once a month (or even twice a month) for those kinds of trips than it is to own a car, with the payments, insurance, and maintenance costs that entails. When I lived in Toronto I'd road trip at least once a month into rural Ontario, and renting was much cheaper than being saddled with my own vehicle.
Yep, if the numbers work better for a rental, then that's the way to go. Depends on your usage and what you want out of it, really. The rental car companies usually offer some pretty decent weekend packages as well, if you don't need/want one through the week.
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  #73  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 5:26 PM
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This discussion helps illustrate one of the big problems with the planning profession: they always think they know better. If I am one of Wadih Fares' execs, I can tell him with a great degree of accuracy what the demand for parking will be in a new development proposal and how many spots should be built. They have the data, they know the market, they can crunch the numbers and find the sweet spot on the cost/revenue curve. It isn't (and shouldn't) be dictated by some doctrinaire planner, or by a bylaw that hasn't been looked at in 40 years. If people are abandoning car ownership, the market will respond accordingly. Fares won't build parking spots that don't get used. But neither should some social engineer-in-training say "I think cars are bad so you shall build zero parking". That is a good way to end up with a bunch of empty lots that, irony of ironies, eventually become... parking lots.

Leave it to the market and in most cases you will be fine.
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  #74  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 5:31 PM
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I rent cars fairly often, and there's also services like carshareHfx. I

think it's paralysing to submit to the mindset that you can't change anything because doing something different from what's being done isn't compatible with the status quo. I agree that it's necessary to provide better transit service, but adding transit service without reducing automobile provisions won't accomplish much. The transit service will simply be cut after few people are using it because there's little incentive if it's more convenient to take a car. To make a major societal shift, you need both incentives for the new, and disincentives for the old. Mainly because the old, regardless of any drawbacks or advantages, has the momentum due to public familiarity and acceptance.
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  #75  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 5:53 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
I rent cars fairly often, and there's also services like carshareHfx. I

think it's paralysing to submit to the mindset that you can't change anything because doing something different from what's being done isn't compatible with the status quo. I agree that it's necessary to provide better transit service, but adding transit service without reducing automobile provisions won't accomplish much. The transit service will simply be cut after few people are using it because there's little incentive if it's more convenient to take a car. To make a major societal shift, you need both incentives for the new, and disincentives for the old. Mainly because the old, regardless of any drawbacks or advantages, has the momentum due to public familiarity and acceptance.
If you think that I'm submitting to any such mindset then you are underestimating me.

I think actually the momentum is more towards the no-car mindset than otherwise. My impression is that many more young people today have little interest in driving and no interest in owning a car. That's momentum and the future status quo, IMHO. With that in mind, I feel that attempting to force people into not having cars is actually overkill as the trend will take care of itself in the years to come.

Building an efficient transit system will help to sway those who are on the fence and will be an asset to those who have already made the choice, and this will only be moreso in the future.

Regardless, those who choose to take their cars will continue to take their cars, even if you try to provide disincentives for them. Show them a better way and you may change their mind. Make life more difficult for them and you will never change their mind. Again, just IMHO.
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  #76  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 6:07 PM
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If you believe that going car-free has the momentum and is the way of the future, then why would we insist on investing in large amounts of parking in brand new buildings that will be around at least a good 50-100 years? That's not just letting things run a natural course, it's actively reinforcing the status quo. I'm sure there are plenty of existing buildings with parking for people who wish to move downtown and continue focusing their lives around the car. Making the effort to include automobile provisions in new developments isn't being neutral, because if parking spaces are automatically built and included in the price of the unit, then the fact that the new condo owner will already have been forced to invest that money in order to buy the condo and has the parking space there ready to use encourages them to use it.
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  #77  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 7:48 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
If you believe that going car-free has the momentum and is the way of the future, then why would we insist on investing in large amounts of parking in brand new buildings that will be around at least a good 50-100 years?
It doesn't matter what I believe, but as I see it the general trend among young people is to shy away from the car. But it isn't going to happen overnight, it's a trend that will probably take 50 - 100 years to play out, but then a lot can happen in 50 -100 years that could change everything - like flying cars, or nuclear-powered bicycles, etc. As Keith said, let the market decide. If people want parking spaces with their condos, then the developers will provide spaces.

Quote:
That's not just letting things run a natural course, it's actively reinforcing the status quo.
Actually, the suggestion of some type of legislation to restrict car use sounds like the opposite of letting it run its natural course. It sounds more like coercing people to make a choice against their will.

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I'm sure there are plenty of existing buildings with parking for people who wish to move downtown and continue focusing their lives around the car.
"Focusing their lives around the car" sounds a little extreme. For most people a car is a tool they use for a purpose, much like a refrigerator or a stove.

If I choose to cook my dinner every night, I'm not focusing my life around the stove, I'm just using it to cook my dinner. However, I may choose to not cook dinner and eat out instead - that's a free choice I could make. If I get rid of the stove because I don't always use it, then I've limited my options. If somebody forces me to get rid of my stove, then they've limited my options.

Likewise, if a person chooses to walk or take take transit instead of their car a similar analogy could be made.

Regardless, how I see it going - if people transition into downtown living - they will likely use their cars less and less until someday they will probably decide the expense of the car isn't worth what they are putting into it. Then factor in the younger generation coming up who will not want to get their car license and will likely never own cars. It will transition, IMHO.

It may result in some empty parking garages in the future, but if that happens I'm sure there will be an enterprising person who will find a way to repurpose that space, either for storage, warehousing, hydroponic agriculture (4-season urban farming), or whatever.

Cities always evolve this way, they are built to fit the needs of the current generation, but then the buildings and infrastructure have to be changed to fit changing needs. I see this as running its natural course. Again, if needs have already changed to make a no-parking building viable, then it will be built.

Quote:
Making the effort to include automobile provisions in new developments isn't being neutral, because if parking spaces are automatically built and included in the price of the unit, then the fact that the new condo owner will already have been forced to invest that money in order to buy the condo and has the parking space there ready to use encourages them to use it.
I highly doubt that somebody will buy a car because, you know, they just happen to have a parking space. Also, does not a new condo owner have to purchase their parking space separately? Therefore, if they don't want a parking space they won't buy a parking space.

Again, that said, if you want to make it difficult for people to take their cars downtown, they will still do it. The end result is that, well, you've just made their lives more difficult.

I appreciate the discussion.
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  #78  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 7:48 PM
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Leave it to the market and in most cases you will be fine.
And the market is self driving car shared cars within 20 years. It is hard to see parking being needed in anywhere near the way it has been in the past. I agree, the 1 to 1 parking ration is out of date. We have reasonably good evidence from the empty garages in Peninsula South, Fenwick Place, etc that it is no longer needed.
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  #79  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 9:19 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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And the market is self driving car shared cars within 20 years.
There are a lot of assumptions built into that statement. I'm inclined to believe it will take much longer. Then, since it's Halifax, it will take 20 more years for us to catch up with the rest of the country.

Quote:
It is hard to see parking being needed in anywhere near the way it has been in the past. I agree, the 1 to 1 parking ration is out of date. We have reasonably good evidence from the empty garages in Peninsula South, Fenwick Place, etc that it is no longer needed.
You can't argue with market data. Then the unit/parking ratio for this building must be in the ballpark (as Keith alluded to).

By the way, I'll mention it here in case you don't see it over in Development Rumours. someone123 posted a link to some pics over there. What's the deal with these properties?

I don't know how to link directly to the post, so I'll include the following quote of it:
Quote:
Somebody posted pictures of demolition notices on 2 heritage buildings on Barrington Street: https://twitter.com/spcushing/status/657229561160187904

That is severely messed up. The building in the middle also would have been a heritage building had it not been for the hideous renovation. The wooden building is from circa 1816.
Any insight you can give us would be greatly appreciated.
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  #80  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2015, 10:19 PM
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It doesn't matter what I believe, but as I see it the general trend among young people is to shy away from the car. But it isn't going to happen overnight, it's a trend that will probably take 50 - 100 years to play out, but then a lot can happen in 50 -100 years that could change everything - like flying cars, or nuclear-powered bicycles, etc. As Keith said, let the market decide. If people want parking spaces with their condos, then the developers will provide spaces.
This isn't just something interesting that we can sit back and casually watch like fashion trends. This is something which affects our energy and resource budget (and therefore economy), our physical health, and overall quality of life. We know we're running out of fossil fuels and we have no replacement option to give us as much energy for as little cost. And we know the effects it's having on the environment. We have to change and the urgency is too great for sitting around thinking "Hmm, it looks like things will eventually change at some point so let's not worry about it". Of course they're going to change at some point because we won't have oil forever. But we need to prepare for that transition if want to make it as painless as possible.

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Actually, the suggestion of some type of legislation to restrict car use sounds like the opposite of letting it run its natural course. It sounds more like coercing people to make a choice against their will.
No one said anything about legislation, and I didn't advocate letting it run it's natural course (I was interpreting that as your preference). My post was simply condemning what I considered a problematic suggestion that counter made without going into potential solutions.

That being said, I reject suggestion that the concept of planning in the content of a society is anti-freedom or somehow a form of coercion. In order to live in a society and enjoy the benefits of such there are things we must share including basic infrastructure, and we cannot have separate infrastructure to suit every possible taste or preference as it isn't financially feasible. Planning based on the type of infrastructure we can actually afford is our society responding to reality, not an active intent to oppress anyone.

When it comes to freedom, I believe in real freedom, but not false freedom. Real freedom is what I would describe as being able to sustain the cost or side affects of a particular choice or action rather than externalise them (like stealing from someone) or be limited by the costs of adverse affects later on (like choosing to sit around the apartment all day and relax only to be kicked out for not paying the rent). For instance, a real freedom would be to choosing to buy a fancy car when you have $50,000 in the bank or the reliable income to finance it. False freedom would be to take out loans and run up credit card debt to live in a way you feel entitled to when you cannot afford it. Eventually you'll run out of credit.

Now it may not be illegal to manage one's finances poorly, but I feel it should be open to criticism. And that's basically what I was doing with my criticism of counter's suggestion that encouraging more downtown parking is a positive thing, except on a societal level rather than on an individual level. Letting the market decide and having things run their course would be like a consumer living above their means until they run out of credit and are forced to change, and perhaps end up declaring bankruptcy, rather than seeing the trend ahead of time and adjusting accordingly. It isn't just bad planning, it isn't planning at all.

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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
"Focusing their lives around the car" sounds a little extreme. For most people a car is a tool they use for a purpose, much like a refrigerator or a stove.

If I choose to cook my dinner every night, I'm not focusing my life around the stove, I'm just using it to cook my dinner. However, I may choose to not cook dinner and eat out instead - that's a free choice I could make. If I get rid of the stove because I don't always use it, then I've limited my options. If somebody forces me to get rid of my stove, then they've limited my options.

Likewise, if a person chooses to walk or take take transit instead of their car a similar analogy could be made.

Regardless, how I see it going - if people transition into downtown living - they will likely use their cars less and less until someday they will probably decide the expense of the car isn't worth what they are putting into it. Then factor in the younger generation coming up who will not want to get their car license and will likely never own cars. It will transition, IMHO.

It may result in some empty parking garages in the future, but if that happens I'm sure there will be an enterprising person who will find a way to repurpose that space, either for storage, warehousing, hydroponic agriculture (4-season urban farming), or whatever.

Cities always evolve this way, they are built to fit the needs of the current generation, but then the buildings and infrastructure have to be changed to fit changing needs. I see this as running its natural course. Again, if needs have already changed to make a no-parking building viable, then it will be built.
Given the amount of disposable income some people devote to their automobiles, I think saying that they're "Focusing their lives around the car" is quite fair. Not to mention the amount of space allocated for this method of conveyance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
I highly doubt that somebody will buy a car because, you know, they just happen to have a parking space. Also, does not a new condo owner have to purchase their parking space separately? Therefore, if they don't want a parking space they won't buy a parking space.

Again, that said, if you want to make it difficult for people to take their cars downtown, they will still do it. The end result is that, well, you've just made their lives more difficult.

I appreciate the discussion.
I remember reading a study out of Seattle I believe showing the relationship between the rates of car ownership and their mandatory parking spaces laws. I'll have to see if I can find it.

Also, i don't believe that last statement for a second. Most people do what is fastest and most convenient and/or cheapest. Many people use cars now because they're the fastest and most convenient option (because we've designed things that way) but if that stops being the case, most people are not going to put themselves through torment as some sort of political protest when there's an easier way for them to get to their destination. Have you even heard of the concept of induced demand? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_demand

Plus, designing things is a less auto-focused way improves the quality of life for other people, and lowers costs in terms of road infrastructure and maintenance, so I would dispute the claim regarding the end result. The net results would include a variety of things with the positives easily outweighing the negatives.
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