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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2019, 3:05 AM
Geographer Geographer is offline
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Above Ground Parking Garages for Towers

I find the proliferation of above ground parking pedestals for recent towers to be ugly. A boring, lifeless garage contributes nothing to vibrant streets that we all want downtown. Do any other city's towers make routine use of parking pedestals? Should Austin ban them?

Last edited by Geographer; Apr 16, 2019 at 3:27 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2019, 3:57 PM
Sigaven Sigaven is offline
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Agreed. They suck away life from the street.
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2019, 4:10 PM
We vs us We vs us is offline
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Yeah, agreed, they're pretty awful. I don't think they should be banned outright -- they're evil but necessary for life in a city that hasn't transitioned out of car culture. But that doesn't mean I have to like them.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2019, 5:12 PM
loonytoony loonytoony is offline
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While ugly, they do serve a purpose. Until we get away from car culture we'll keep seeing them. Also keep in mind it's cheaper to build up than down - so while not the most interactive they will help keep cost of living (slightly!) lower downtown. The ancillary benefit is more people able to afford living/working in region.
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2019, 7:41 PM
zrx299 zrx299 is offline
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We as a society won't be getting rid of car culture (outside of obvious places like NYC, etc) in our lifetimes. The fix involves enormous capital expenditures to actually build a real public transportation system with dedicated ROWs, and behavioral changes. It's a real chicken/egg thing.

Otherwise, Bob and Karen will always need a place to park their car when commuting in from Georgetown and Hutto.


A more realistic solution is enforcing better design guidelines. There's plenty of ways to disguise parking decks, provide ground floor retail, and activate the street level.
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2019, 9:51 PM
loonytoony loonytoony is offline
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Agreed on the design aspect. On the public transport side I'd say our biggest issue is space. We simply have too much room to build and spread in the US. It's easy to point to Europe or similar for examples on what we can do here. However, these are areas with high population densities, relatively small distances between towns, and a long tradition or walking/biking/using public transport. Until we start seeing something similar here I see no other way but a continuation of car culture.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2019, 10:03 PM
freerover freerover is offline
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Some of the podiums seem worse than they really are. Those quarter block towers are really narrow and the parking slopes are highly inefficient because of the limited amount of continuous slope. You're pretty much always rounding a corner which doesn't leave room for a lot of spaces relative to half and full block podiums.
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  #8  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2019, 12:36 AM
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We could count above ground parking of any kind against FAR (Floor to Area Ratio). Some business groups are against this but it could help move the needle.
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Old Posted Apr 17, 2019, 4:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 427MM View Post
We could count above ground parking of any kind against FAR (Floor to Area Ratio). Some business groups are against this but it could help move the needle.
We should deliver a quality transit system before taking away necessary support for badly needed office space that central to the economic growth and diversification of the Austin economy.
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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2019, 2:17 PM
Geographer Geographer is offline
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I agree that most people will continue to drive to work and thus parking is necessary. But there are other ways to provide parking.

Should the city of Austin require underground parking?
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2019, 2:29 PM
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HomeInMyShoes HomeInMyShoes is offline
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We've got a few in Regina and most are actually pretty well done from a streetscape standpoint and are actually better than many of the underground structure buildings. Two have restaurants in the bottom and a third has an optical shop.

Avord Tower which is cleanly designed and well-maintained. Great local coffee shop too.

Noroth Canadian Oils has another great restaurant/coffee shop (local again) and the design while not beautiful at least works with the rest of the structure fairly well and at least has some design thought to it.

You won't get people to stop driving to work for a while, but you can make designs reasonable and still preserve some of the pedestrian interaction that is nice in the core.
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2019, 3:03 PM
freerover freerover is offline
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I think a better conversation would be how the city can develop some system for the public to utilize all these private parking garages in a more seamless way so we can lose more street parking for bigger sidewalks, protected bike/scooter lanes and transit lanes. It would be nice if there was a central way to pay and a way to know what garages had openings. I posted a parking study last year that IIRC, said there was a ton of under utilized parking garages.

I agree that coming up with design guidelines would be better. I think the Parsley Oil building went from a terrible podium to a great one. I think the Austonian's podium looks fine. There should be a way to prevent builders from going with the cheapest route possible when it comes to ventilation on the podiums like we saw with 3rd and Schoal.
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2019, 3:13 PM
zrx299 zrx299 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freerover View Post
I think a better conversation would be how the city can develop some system for the public to utilize all these private parking garages in a more seamless way so we can lose more street parking for bigger sidewalks, protected bike/scooter lanes and transit lanes. It would be nice if there was a central way to pay and a way to know what garages had openings. I posted a parking study last year that IIRC, said there was a ton of under utilized parking garages.
There are a few apps out there already attempting to do this, but of course that requires buy-in from privately owned garages, etc, etc.

Look into ParkWhiz for iPhone, among others.
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