Missing Teeth

Children with missing teeth are cute.  Six-year olds are supposed to have missing teeth. The toothless smile is charming, besides there is the promise of a new tooth in the not to distant future.  Adults with missing teeth are a different story.  They are not so attractive.  
Cities can have missing teeth too, and we are usually repulsed by the sight just like like we are upon seeing adults with less than a full collection of teeth.  Missing teeth in cities come in the form of streets that present a gap-toothed appearance as buildings are torn down for parking, or just plain empty lots, or even worse ‘green space’.  
The most attractive and vibrant cities in America have very few gap-toothed streets.  They present beautifully composed streets that are defined by unified rows of buildings, working together to create urban outdoor rooms.  The human psyche is designed to be attracted to enclosure.  We also like continuity and visual stimulation. Great urban streets provide for these human desires.  It is no coincidence that the first thing you see upon entering Disney World is the ultimate depiction of the perfect urban street room.  Imagine Disney tearing down a few of those wonderful Victorian storefronts for some closer parking.
When a street is chopped up by emptiness, it loses its sense of place, and visually dead parking lots suck activity and life away.   The continuity of buildings uninterrupted by empty lots is extremely critical in forming great commercial retail streets.  There is not a single commercial street in Buffalo that has not been severely damaged by gap-toothed development of parking lots.  
The most successful sections of buffalo’s walkable retail streets are those with the greatest concentration of contiguous buildings and storefronts.   Grant Street may be Buffalo’s most complete street of contiguous commercial buildings.  It has great scale and a sense of enclosure too.  Unfortunately, its success is hampered by the crushing poverty that surrounds it.  However, even in its degraded state, its potential as a great street is evident.  Hopefully, recent successes and positive trends win out on Grant before the forces of neglect and car storage can damage this street irrevocably.
I wrote this post as an introduction to one of my favorite KunstlerCast episodes.  The KunstlerCast is a weekly online discussion of urban and social issues. In this episode titled, “KunstlerCast # 43: Missing Teeth in the Urban Fabric,” author and social thinker James Howard Kunstler and his colleague Duncan Crary talk about the gapped tooth landscape that has overtaken so many American cities.  
Duncan lives in Troy New York, a small Albany area city with a degraded but still very charming historic city center.  The most interesting part of the conversation comes at the end of the podcast where Crary and Kunstler challenge the mayor of Troy on plans to create a new ‘green space’ adjacent to the main city square.  At first he is very defensive and protective of the proposed green space, believing that anything called “green space” has to be better than buildings. A few generations of brainwashing has America believing that buildings are an evil necessity. All of this is very relevant to Buffalo, and I hope you give it a listen.


About the author  ⁄ david steele

116 comments
James Kistner
James Kistner

Thank you, somebody else with a brain does understand. I have listened for some years now as my UB professors wrongly go along with the 'downsizing', 'shovel ready infill', ideas which everbody knows, DO NOT HAPPEN. (Its like long term weather forecasting, they are dead or forgot by the time they are proven wrong.)

The quality of PLANNING education MUST improve, and Kunstler is one such breath of the fresh air that is needed. But UB planners and their kind, don't except it because it came from none a planner. There is no research money, in common sense, only in manipulatable statistics reported in somebody’s quarterly journal, upon which we can get fund… from some government agency.

Just as the polemic refuses over and over to take signs down (read 'Traffic'), or repealing a code or two to facilitate growth... because they don't want to relinquish the power they have stolen from the property owner, they refuse to understand DEMO means….. to destroy.

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

Yeah all those companies "locate in the suburbs over free parking". Please. There are numerous criteria for selecting a site. Probably the primary factor is the virgin, shovel-ready site that requires no demos, no remediation, no big fights over easements or hiring that you get in cities. Cities distort the process of locating new firms to the point that so many of them won't ever consider a site in an inner city. Blame the suburbs all you want, they know how to fight for tax base while the cityfolk stumble over themselves with political correctness and endless delays and squabbles. If a huge company said they were coming into the Buffalo area but needed to get up and running within 18 months, could the City of Buffalo do it? Site, easements, utilities, tax incentives, and all the rest? Would that gang even know how?

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

Are you serious? Anything that produces electricity gets pumped into the grid. It doesn't matter from where, so yes, an electric car's batteries can be charged off of wind or solar.(!) And what does any of this have to do with sprawl? Sprawl is the product of crappy planning, not the evil automobile. Plenty of cars in San Francisco but you don't see them filling in the harbor for more suburban houses, do you? Buses, trolleys and rail are all good stuff and well worth the investment in them but we shouldn't ignore the costs or delude ourselves into thinking they are the solution to all the ills that afflict cities, just as it's foolish and self-defeating to act as though parking destroys cities. Many great cities are springing up nicely WITH PARKING, thank you very much.

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

Are you serious? Anything that produces electricity gets pumped into the grid. It doesn't matter from where, so yes, an electric car's batteries can be charged off of wind or solar.(!) And what does any of this have to do with sprawl? Sprawl is the product of crappy planning, not the evil automobile. Plenty of cars in San Francisco but you don't see them filling in the harbor for more suburban houses, do you? Buses, trolleys and rail are all good stuff and well worth the investment in them but we shouldn't ignore the costs or delude ourselves into thinking they are the solution to all the ills that afflict cities, just as it's foolish and self-defeating to act as though parking destroys cities. Many great cities are springing up nicely WITH PARKING, thank you very much.

STEEL
STEEL

Still, electric buses use far less electirc power than 100 elctric cars and no all those cars are not going to be powered by wind so what is your point? Most likely they will be powered by coal which is the dirtiest fossel fuel. Oh well at least we can then keep destroying the countryside with cheap sprawl development. Wow, that is something to look forward to.

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

Electricity can be generated any number of ways. Coal, natural gas, wind, solar, and my personal favorite: nuclear.So yes, the same dirty filthy coal that powers most trolley systems and subways. We have a huge abundance of shale gas so I suppose that will become a big chunk of the carbon triad. Hydrogen fuel cells have a lot of kinks but something like that can come into being. Believe me, when the cost of gas goes near $10 a gallon, you'll see just how innovative the GLOBAL automotive industry can get. I ask again, do you own a car? Do you have to park it?

STEEL
STEEL

Except that the suburban Republicans are itching for enacting school choice which means kids should be able to choose where they go to school.

STEEL
STEEL

What fuels do cars run on other than gas? Electicity? Oh you mean the kind madeby burning coal? Or are you talking about ethanol, the fuel made from food which is grown with petrolem based fertilizers. OK, I am not the one embarfasing myself.

By the way I never said any of the things you atribute to me. You must be confused especially if you think continually building ugly sprawl out into the country side is a sustainable and good idea.

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

Buffalo is a few bank mergers away from "stealing" back a lot of those Charlotte bankers. KeyCorp stock is trading so low, I can only wonder why the gang at M&T haven't already snatched it up...

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

People who work Downtown will always pay extra for reliable or dedicated parking space. That doen't mean they're in love with the concept, just resigned to it. What an all-pay parking scheme does is place the city at a disadvantage with suburban retailers and service firms. Looking at the suburbs and the free parking at employers there like GEICO, that is indeed a major expense for them that isn't passed along to the employees but factors into their siting decisions. In areas where land costs are extremely high, companies either choose to bite the bullet out of their need for the proximity or they modify their plans and encourage employees to use public transit. In this way, land prices are a good metric for determining the viability of mass transit. Land prices around Buffalo are low. How do you add value and thus enhance the viability of alternate transportation? By attracting more businesses. How do you do that? Free parking!!!

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

People who work Downtown will always pay extra for reliable or dedicated parking space. That doen't mean they're in love with the concept, just resigned to it. What an all-pay parking scheme does is place the city at a disadvantage with suburban retailers and service firms. Looking at the suburbs and the free parking at employers there like GEICO, that is indeed a major expense for them that isn't passed along to the employees but factors into their siting decisions. In areas where land costs are extremely high, companies either choose to bite the bullet out of their need for the proximity or they modify their plans and encourage employees to use public transit. In this way, land prices are a good metric for determining the viability of mass transit. Land prices around Buffalo are low. How do you add value and thus enhance the viability of alternate transportation? By attracting more businesses. How do you do that? Free parking!!!

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

You're right: once fuel becomes scarce, the car will be abandonded and everyone will walk, bicycle, or ride the subway to work...and pass by UMBRA along the way...and live in mini Mississauguas. Please, don't embarass yourself further with this nonsense. New technologies are already on the shelf for cars to run either wih far less gas or no gas at all. The issues are with the applications of these technologies and their cost. That will change. What won't is the desire to own and drive cars. Forget it. The human race voted a long time ago. Actually, I'm surprised you didn't mention the relatively clean nat gas burning buses. Probably because car designers are working on nat gas cars as well.

MrGreenJeans
MrGreenJeans

One Erie County School District, with every child required to attend the nearest school, and all the schools being equally good. How radical.

STEEL
STEEL

And look how prosperous those cities have become. WNY is a different place. WNY can't even get rid of its silly villages.

One point though. Charlotte and its ilk have benefited mightily by attracting the educated and wealthy away from places like WNY. They don't have the same level of inner city poverty there to contend with.

jimmy
jimmy

The same was said in Fairfax, VA and Charlotte, NC.

STEEL
STEEL

I am all for eliminating arbitrary regional political boundaries. Combine Buffalo schools with Tonawanda, Amherst etc. Of course we both know it will be a cold day in Hell when that happens.

Everyone loves to brag about their town's school district but we also know that the real reason the city schools fail is because of the intractable problem of generational poverty and the issues the students inherit before they ever enter school. The Vaunted Amherst schools would do no better educating kids that come from the dysfunctional homes that are so highly concentrated within the city.

The Kettle
The Kettle

Whatever>"Not true, as Google satellite view shows. http://tinyurl.com/google-ev-lots

It's a normal parking lot with most parked cars visible from the street

Take that little yellow man in the upper left hand corner, left click and drag until you move him to the Elmwood street view. You will see out of about 20 spaces only one, not "most", of them front and are visable from the street. The rest are off the driveway and away from the sidewalk. Even before frontal parking there were small breaks in the streetscape for alleyways, ventalation, lawns and sidewalks. The driveway and sole parking length that separate Blockbuster from its neighbor is a gap but not nearly the hole that exists across the street which is what I believe the OP was referring to .

Whatever>" It isn't just "to me" counted as parking for Spot/Brodo"

But it is you who repeatedly claims that all of those business have their own separate parking. There is a difference between on site parking and a mid-block lot that the entire district shares. Again these places are doing just fine with the parking in the area but it isnt any more accurate to claim that their success is a result of that parking than it would be for me to claim it would be more successful without it.

jimmy
jimmy

STEEL, we can talk in reality or continue with your gross exaggerations and over-generalizations. When you say most suburban schools take long bus rides to school, you are mistaken. Making that negative assertion based on your perception is no different than someone saying that most city school kids live in fear of gangs, or that most city schools are infested with drug dealers and thugs, or that most city school teachers don't care about their students. All of these are fallacies, based on only a limited point of reference and a desire to create a negative image through the words you choose to use.

I grew up in Fairfax County, VA and know the benefits and liabilities of the county wide system. There are failing schools along the route 1 corridor in VA, in the Herndon area, and near Falls Church. The nice thing, as you point out, is that a parent could choose to enroll their child in a different school further away from their neighborhood school. This happens frequently in Fairfax. I would fully support having Buffalo students attend Williamsville, Amherst, Orchard Park, and other districts, if the funding for those students went along with them. The problem is, as highlighted in the struggle with Charter schools, is that the Buffalo Public Schools would lose funding and control.

Do I believe that a child from Buffalo would do better in Amherst, well that depends on a number of factors. It would depend on the student, it would depend on the family, and it would depend on the situation. A discipline problem in one school may be a discipline problem in another school. A drug user in one school will find drugs in the new school. Etc, Etc, Etc. A good student in one school, will most likely be a good student in another school. The problem arises when we take the good students out of the schools and leave the discipline problems behind. This is the natural selection that occurs today, not as an option for families within the district, but by moving away from the district or by playing the education lottery and hoping for enrollment in one of the handful of truly successful Buffalo Schools.

Why not divide the City Schools into four or five districts and let te students attend Amherst, Ken/Ton, West Seneca, Cheektowaga / Sloan, and Lackawanna. Redirect funding and align charter schools accordingly, then demise the Buffalo Schools. We could go a step further and combine Williamsville with Amherst, Clarnce, and Sweet Home. Combine Orchard Park, Hamburg, West Seneca, and East Aurora / Iroquois. Combine Kenmore, Tonawanda, North Tonawanda, etc. You get the picture. Create four or five pods under one regional administration, cut out the superfluous layers and redundant services, and seriously change the way we do education in WNY.

STEEL
STEEL

Actually some city kids live quite close to suburban. Most suburban kids have to take long bus rides to their schools. But why not just have Amherst schools take over the city?

You suggest allowing suburban kids take advantage of the best city schools, why not let city kids take advantage of the best suburban schools?

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

Disagree with you on the county school district: I'd hate to see that much busing. Waste of time, gas, incubator for bullying.

All Buffalo has to do is scale up programs for which there is high demand (City Honors, etc.). That will draw students from the burbs, from private schools and from charters. And as I argue all the time: go charters!

STEEL
STEEL

Try convincing the average suburbanite that it is ok to walk a half block form their car to their destination and that they won't get murdered in the city. And many companies locate in the suburbs because they think their employees should not have to pay anything to park.

grad94
grad94

if low or no cost were the only factor motivating our land use choices, we'd all move to broadway fillmore and elmwood would empty out. but we all know that people will pay for what they value. starbucks charges more for coffee than mcdonalds does & they do just fine. in the case of elmwood, people value a rewarding walkable environment with shops and cafes not found elsewhere.

the theory is easy enough to test out. a one or two block stretch of elmwood (the blocks with businesses instead of houses) could volunteer to be a guinea pig for a year or two. establish a parking benefit district, in which revenues from market rate curb parking pay for things like sidewalk plowing, benches, and plantings, -only- on those blocks, and see if it attracts or repels customers.

bflolover
bflolover

The problem with the city schools has to do with high concentrations of poverty. Read Rusk's work for more on this.

If everyone in this area would think regionally and put in place a county-wide school district, then things would get better everywhere (of course, there would be a ton of busing needed to make this work). Virgina and many other states have county-wide school districts. Children of poverty would be disbursed evenly throughout the county - as would all other students. People in the suburbs would benefit from being about to compete for slots at City Honors, Hutch Tech, etc... as well as bringing diversity. Diversity is sorely lacking in most suburban schools and it's a disservice to us all.

Unfortunately, this will never happen. So, city residents have a few amazing options open to them in the public school arena (City Honors, Hutch Tech, DaVinci, Olmsted). Many charter schools exist as well. And, since taxes are lower in the city, residents can also more readily afford the private schools which abound in Buffalo (where many suburbanites send their kids). Scholarships to these private schools are available as well.

All things being equal (and having lived in both the suburbs and City of Buffalo), I will choose a walkable diverse community any day of the week.

STEEL
STEEL

Why not have the Amherst school district take over the Buffalo schools? This will solve the problem because it is obvious that the suburban school districts know how to do it.

Who is on board with this? Anyone? Amherst schools are well run and Buffalo schools are poorly run, right? Why not just have the Amherst school district manage the buffalo schools? I am sure that the results will be amazing.

JSmith
JSmith

Well, I would point to the almost-full paid parking ramps downtown as clear evidence that people are willing to pay money to park their cars downtown, regardless of whether the suburbs are offering free parking.

As long as the suburbs have acres and acres of cheap land, they can offer free parking. The city can't compete with that without demolishing half of itself for parking. We already tried that and it hasn't really worked so well. Cities need to use their density and vibrancy to offer things the suburbs can never compete with, that make people willing to pay for parking (or walk, ride a bicycle, or use public transportation) in favor of the free parking at Applebees.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

Well said!

I'm with you 100% on the schools. They are the biggest impediment to Buffalo's prosperity.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

Well said!

I'm with you 100% on the schools. They are the biggest impediment to Buffalo's prosperity.

STEEL
STEEL

Public transit costs a fraction of the amount per person that individualized car centric transit costs. The pollution from a bus is miniscule compared to the the amount of pollution from cars for the same number of people. These super cars you dream of don't exist and probably never will since no one is working on real sustainable energy in any real way.

You are kidding with that argument right? Your post is supposed to be sarcastic?

STEEL
STEEL

What you are forgetting or ignoring is that the suburbs are undercutting the market with subsidized free parking. Buffalo can't compete with that without destroying itself.

JSmith
JSmith

Then you lower prices again until you reach 85% occupancy. You guys are missing the whole "market rate" concept here. It's not about jacking up prices until nobody is willing to park there; it's about setting prices at the level the market will support and then reinvesting those fees in neighborhood enhancements, to make the neighborhood an even more attractive place to want to go to.

If everybody in metro Buffalo is adamantly against paying for street parking (which I will remind you that we do already during the weekdays) and would sooner drive out to Transit Road than pay to park on Elmwood or Hertel, then I guess the market rate is $0/hr. Fine. But I personally do not think that is true. The public lots on Elmwood are frequently full, and those are $1/hr I think (or maybe $0.50/hr).

jimmy
jimmy

I find it a shame that economically healthy city and suburbs cannot coexist in Buffalo. It is a shame that we are so far down that we have to resort to fighting amongst ourselves, instead of determining how to work together as a region to resolve the problems that plague our city. It is a shame that we have to blame the suburbs for the problems of the city. We cannot talk about economics or poverty without blaming the suburbs for taking away the money or conspiring to keep the poor in the city. We cannot talk about jobs without blaming Amherst and UB for building outside the City. We cannot discuss a more economically viable Buffalo without pointing a finger at the suburbs and saying "They took our jobs!, They took our wealthy!, They took our taxes!, They are getting rich off our poverty!".

We live in a beautiful city, full of rich architecture and loads of potential. We also live in a city plagued with corruption, poor decisions, inept decision makers, and poverty. We live in an area that offers our residents with housing options that do not exist in all other cities our size. Instead of embracing this as a positive, we see it as a threat to the city and vilify it. It is a positive that our middle and lower middle class residents can afford homes in safe neighborhoods with good schools, this is where most people want to raise their children. I have lived in other parts of the country where families must make tremendous sacrifices to up their quality of life. This is something that we should be using to sell the area, instead of trying to stop it.

I think we all agree that suburban sprawl is an issue. To restate that the issue that we should be focusing on is SPRAWL, not SUBURBS. New developments take from the entire area, when they are done without planning and consideration for the impact to the entire region. Unfortunately, as they say, what's done is done. We can whine about it and use a very broad brush to paint all suburbs as a new McMansion development in Wheatfield or Clarence, or we can work on highlighting the positives of the built environment. We can use a broad brush to paint all the suburbs as vinyl villages devoid of character, or we could use the contrast to sell some of the more architecturally significant buildings in Buffalo. What do we need to do this? How about fixing the real estate service for the City of Buffalo. How about advertising and showcasing homes and buildings in the city that are for sale and making them easy to purchase from the City of Buffalo. How about partnering with banks to quickly turn-over foreclosed homes to new buyers. How about advertising this to other cities where people are so under-water in their mortgages that they need to start over.

What about fixing the schools? The schools are a major issue and we cannot talk about them without blaming the suburbs for having wealthier residents and more college educated parents. There is one thing that we can do to reverse this, improve the schools. Take a look at the DC public schools as an example of where the administration and teachers are holding back progress because of they are more concerned about themselves than the students. Teachers who want to strike because they are held accountable for how well they maintain a classroom or deliver the content to students. Yes, there are more challenges in the city than the suburbs, but we need a school board and administrators who can address the issues. Take a look at some of the headlines relating to discipline issues and lack of leadership in the BPS as examples of where we can improve.

We have many other issues that we need to address, and we need leadership and a fresh perspective to overcome these issues that are currently obstacles to our growth and future. Instead of infighting with other local residents in our region, we should be focusing on attracting new residents to the area. We lose too many people to other areas of the country. Have we spoken with some of them to figure out why they are leaving? Have we spoken with the ones who have returned to figure out what attracted them back? This is valuable information that we could use to figure out our path forward.

The growth of the suburbs is a symptom of the problems with the city, it is not the cause. Let's get real and focus on the root cause of our issues instead of trying to explain away our issues. If we are serious about a regional approach to government and services, then we have to figure out how to bring our area closer together. After all, our region does include the City AND the suburbs.

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

If the city begins jacking up parking rates, guess what happens next? Everyone decides it's a wash to burn the extra gas and hump it out to the 'burbs. If the city and county would combine and enact a regional parking plan, then it can all come together nicely. For now, putting Buffalo at yet another disadvantage for the sake of your purist principles will likely finish the city off. But who cares, as long as everything within five blocks of Elmwood is still ok?

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

What are the true "hidden costs" of a mass transit system? Buses that spew diesel fumes? Trolleys that cost over $100,000 per user to build? How far do you purists care to take this argument? I agree that non-automotive transport is much more sustainable in the long run, assuming that cars still run on gasoline, but given the short time horizon for that outdated technology, what would you propose when cars are much less polluting and yet people still want them? Do you own a car? Do you have to park it?

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

I'll remember that the next time I walk down one of those "free" sidewalks, enjoy a lovely "free" park, or pay a "subsided" fare on the NFTA.

sonyactivision
sonyactivision

I'll remember that the next time I walk down one of those "free" sidewalks, enjoy a lovely "free" park, or pay a "subsided" fare on the NFTA.

whatever
whatever

pitbull>"The blockbuster lot, which to you counts as on site parking for spot and brodo, is little more than a driveway at the sidewalk with parking spaces in the rear"

Not true, as Google satellite view shows. http://tinyurl.com/google-ev-lots

It's a normal parking lot with most parked cars visible from the street. Some spaces are behind Blockbuster's entrance, but it's plain to see most aren't. It isn't a driveway with spaces in the rear. Nice try.

It isn't just "to me" counted as parking for Spot/Brodo. It's marked with a sign for customers of those businesses. So is the even bigger parking lot next to W Farms. As Bini has said on BR, those lots are owned by the Spot-Brodo landlord. They're often full of cars, as they are when the Google pic was taken at that link.

Those two and the co-op lot are the kind of "missing teeth" the post criticizes. I agree with your previous point that the parking lots in districts such as EV are a help.

STEEL
STEEL

This system will work well for larger cities where people have less choice and were the center city has been made strong and wealthy

IN Buffalo the free parking suburban culture is very dominant. Any suggestion of paying for parking is a mark against the city which is already in a week position. People think free parking is a birth right. It will be the thing that ruins this country.

STEEL
STEEL

All great ideas but the fact is that it is ALWAYS a city v suburb issue. As long as so much of the region's economy is based outside the city in car based environments you will never get the density of population needed to support this and as long as you don't have that critical mass you will never ever get suburban residents willing to pony up.

Where does the money come from?

STEEL
STEEL

Government subsidy is not always a direct hand out but. Shoup's book "The high Cost of Free Parking goes into this in great detail. first since parking takes up a lot of space things get spread out and need more roads which government pays for. Parking lots create more water runoff which needs to be dumped into government sewers. The water run off is from parking and the additional roads is very polluted requiring additional pollution control treatment paid for by government. Sometimes the polution is not treated. Currently the suburbs just dump their polluted water in Buffalo ( Hamburg drain aniyone?) The Scajaquata(sp?) Creek was diverted around Delaware lake because the run off water - mostly from Cheektowaga was so foul. The added run off also often causes streams to swell with more water than they were ever required to handle. Parking lots and additional pavement is a known cause of increased flooding wich is costly to governments. Since things are more spread out because of parking lots people are forced to drive their cars. Something that many have pointed out with regard to Elmwood. More cars means more need for government roads and wider roads with their associated sewers and drainage. Our severe dependence on cars has made us dependent on foreign supplied oil which means our government paid for military is needed to secure that oil. Land used for parking is taxed at a lower rate which means fewer people pay for more stuff in order to pay for the car culture.

Also since each business needs to buy and maintain more land to supply space for car storage they need to pass that cost on to their customers. They don't do this directly by charging a parking fee but cover the cost by raising prices on their product.

grad94
grad94

the goldilocks principle applies. the rate is too high if more than say 20% of curb spots are open and too low if none are open. you have to price, observe, and adjust.

my guesses as to the relative rates for allen vs. broadway are just that: guesses. maybe the right rate for broadway is free and the right rate for allen is 2.50.

but the point is that under this system, the neighborhood gets a big chunk of the meter revenues for street cleaning, benches, repaved sidewalks, trees, basically any amenities that attract people. voila: a virtuous cycle rather than a vicious one.

grad94
grad94

> Opinions and observations are a wonderful thing...especially when they are your own. You should try it sometime. :)

How patronizing.

As if your every utterance owes nothing to the intellectual labors of those who came before you.

Really?
Really?

Steel,

Are you really trying to make this a city v. suburb argument? Do you think every.single.parking.spot is created for someone who lives outside of the city?

If you were to magically remove the 1st and 2nd ring suburbs, the COB would still have enough population and money to support much more than it does today. The challenge is the city has no real connections from one neighborhood to the next outside of driving.

Let me give you an example:

Right now you have an amazing success from Allentown north to the ABK. You also have some positive progress downtown and one would hope the Canal Side/Waterfront eventually. This spine is about 3.75 miles long if you take Elmwood from Buffalo State to the Inner Harbor.

Along this spine you have a somewhat dense population and a good amount of money. But no legitimate public transportation option. If COB had a focus of taking care of itself, it would do whatever it takes to create a highly accessible and effective transportation line along these 3.5 miles. But it doesn't. This transportation like could be something as simple as buses that run every 10 min in a loop between the ABK and Canal Side 20hrs a day. No infrastructure needed.

At the top and bottom of this spine is PLENTY of parking that already exists for people who do not live along the spine. Even better is the fact that these lots are mostly surface lots, which could be converted to parking ramps taking even less room.

Buffalo has a "free zone" for the metro. Why not make a rapid delivery bus line from Canal Side to the ABK a free zone as well? It is not as sexy as a subway line but it accomplishes the same goal at the end of the day.

Really?
Really?

Steel,

Are you really trying to make this a city v. suburb argument? Do you think every.single.parking.spot is created for someone who lives outside of the city?

If you were to magically remove the 1st and 2nd ring suburbs, the COB would still have enough population and money to support much more than it does today. The challenge is the city has no real connections from one neighborhood to the next outside of driving.

Let me give you an example:

Right now you have an amazing success from Allentown north to the ABK. You also have some positive progress downtown and one would hope the Canal Side/Waterfront eventually. This spine is about 3.75 miles long if you take Elmwood from Buffalo State to the Inner Harbor.

Along this spine you have a somewhat dense population and a good amount of money. But no legitimate public transportation option. If COB had a focus of taking care of itself, it would do whatever it takes to create a highly accessible and effective transportation line along these 3.5 miles. But it doesn't. This transportation like could be something as simple as buses that run every 10 min in a loop between the ABK and Canal Side 20hrs a day. No infrastructure needed.

At the top and bottom of this spine is PLENTY of parking that already exists for people who do not live along the spine. Even better is the fact that these lots are mostly surface lots, which could be converted to parking ramps taking even less room.

Buffalo has a "free zone" for the metro. Why not make a rapid delivery bus line from Canal Side to the ABK a free zone as well? It is not as sexy as a subway line but it accomplishes the same goal at the end of the day.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

??? Please illuminate precisely how government subsidizes Panos and Coop parking in any way different than, say, a larger store front.

Let's say Panos had kept the Atwater house and let's say the Coop built over their parking lot with more store front. How would government be subsidizing them any less than they supposedly are now? The only way I can figure out any 'subsidy' (and it's quite a stretch) is if you assume that the taxable value of the properties would be greater without parking, on the basis that more building must be more valuable than less building. But that's an unsubstantiated position. It's very likely that, though larger, the monetary value of the buildings would be smaller because the parking adds such functionality and utility to the properties. So the taxable basis for these structures may well be greater because, not in spite of, the parking. Therefore, if tax revenue is your basis for saying government is 'subsidizing' parking, that argument has holes in it. If that is not the basis for your claim, then what is?

The Kettle
The Kettle

Whatever>"Good that you agree the parking is an asset, but if you agree with my conclusion why are you arguing with what I said to back the conclusion? Just to stay in argument practice"

If you read a little more of what I wrote you will notice I make the distinction between mid-block sheltered and rear parking vs frontal corner lots. Duh, duh and duh!

Whatever>"You're saying mid-block parking lots are ok? I thought this post was compaining about "missing teeth"?

Well the Starbuck-ets-evans bank lot fronts w delevan but it is sheltered from view from Emlmwood. The blockbuster lot, which to you counts as on site parking for spot and brodo, is little more than a driveway at the sidewalk with parking spaces in the rear. And the co-op that you try so hard to equate to wf has the driveway up to the sidewalk and its spaces behind it. The store itself btw was built over the corner surface lot that used to be there.

These lots are not ideal but they are much better than un obstructed frontal parking that exists in front of wfx2 price rite etc.

JSmith
JSmith

"If they are paying $5/hr for parking, that is around $20. Compared to the countless options in Buffalo that offer free parking because they are not in a location where parking is scarce, that is $20 that most people do not want to pay. That is $20 that people will CHOOSE not to pay and go somewhere else."

I think the idea then is that $5/hr is too high a price and it will drop until people are willing to pay it. The idea is to set the price just high enough to maintain roughly 85% occupancy, so that there are always some available spaces, but not too many. If occupancy falls below this level, then reduce the prices until it comes back. In some places and at some hours of the day, that might mean free parking. At other times, it might be quite expensive. But it would all be driven by supply and demand.

Downtown lots already use this principle - it's much more expensive to park in the Webster lot for a Sabres game than for an open practice, or when there's no event at HSBC and you just feel like taking a stroll under the 190. And the prices drop as you get further away, to serve a range of customers. Some are willing to pay $20 to park right next to the arena, while others prefer to pay $5 and walk several blocks to their destination.

Frankly, I don't think most Buffalo neighborhoods outside of downtown would need increases in parking fees (though metered street parking helps encourage turnover of spots in commercial districts), because they never reach 85% occupancy during most hours. Elmwood and Hertel on weekend evenings might benefit from this, though.

My biggest concern would be the added complexit. Many suburbanites are already timid to come to Elmwood and Hertel because of a perceived lack of parking; it doesn't help if they don't know how much to expect to pay on a given evening.

STEEL
STEEL

There is not such thing as free parking and there is no such thing as parking ubsubsidized by government.

STEEL
STEEL

The problem is the city has been giveing far far more that a little. The result is that much of the city is no longer livable. When does the city have to stop giving?

STEEL
STEEL

You mean I can't park right on the property!? Won't see me in that store! NO WAY.

whatever
whatever

Of course I said it's an asset. It is an important asset. Or as I said in the comment above "one important factor". Duh, duh, and duh.

pitbull>"I agree with what you said later in the post that parking does help the EV..."

Good that you agree the parking is an asset, but if you agree with my conclusion why are you arguing with what I said to back the conclusion? Just to stay in argument practice?

Just for fun, I'll add you-know-who's new favorite word "only" into your quote to show how foolish it is when some people do that:

pitbull-twisted>"I agree with what you said later in the post that parking IS THE ONLY THING THAT helps the EV..."

See how dumb that looks? Not too far off? Yeah right - lol!

pitbull>"...but most of the sites you mentioned feature mid-block or rear parking"

I don't think any examples I mentioned are only rear parking. Some are both side and rear, some just side, some mid-block full lots, and only a very few are front and on a street corner.

You're saying mid-block parking lots are ok? I thought this post was compaining about "missing teeth"?

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