Originally Posted by Bdog
I can't remember if there was already a thread dedicated to this, but we seem to discuss this topic a lot: What to do with the surface lots downtown?
Is it economically feasible to redevelop them at this point? Are parkades profitable without a sharp reduction in surface lots? Are Winnipeggers willing to go downtown if there is more expensive parking?
I think the truth is that someone makes a lot of money off of surface parking lots. They are a guaranteed source of income. If you think about it, Winnipeg is a cold city, and lots of people work downtown. There will always be a demand for parking, and since surface lots cost next to nothing to maintain (or so I would assume judging from their appearance), they are cash cows.
My guess would be that if we turned them all into three storey parkades, we would have 2/3 less parking lots, no? But building and maintaining parking lots are much cheaper than building parkades. And say we did reduce the number of surface parking lots downtown by 66%, I doubt all those extra lots would get filled in immediately. Upon seeing that, many downtown workers would say "see, I told you so." because we would just have a bunch of empty lots downtown with no parking nor building on them.
Of course, the most logical solution to that would be to put some sort of priority on redevelopment of those lots, but then again, every time you redevelop a lot, a couple hundred downtown workers lose their parking spot and it makes their day just that much more stressful.
We could also move the lots underground and build on top of them, but again, that is much more expensive than an open surface lot.
My non-totalitarian suggestion would be cap the amount of surface lots right now and don't allow anymore to be built. As time goes own and downtown develops, the increased demand for parking would put pressure on current stall prices, raising their costs until the point where a lot of people could not afford to park there anymore and would switch to an alternative such as transit, or it becomes profitable for developers to build parkades/underground lots. With enough pressure and demand, we could even see an improved transportation system reach downtown.
Just my two cents though.