Transportation Hubs, Parking Structures And The Drastic Affect They Have On Quality Of Life

How do architecture, urbanism and transportation intersect in the creation of cities and local infrastructure.

PSFK was recently invited to attend an Urban Mobility Salon, hosted at BMW’s iVentures office in New York City. The Salon focused on architecture, urbanism, parking, and how the three combine to create our existing and future urban transportation solutions. It also addressed the role of transportation hubs and parking structures as key building blocks for urbanism, and the drastic affect these elements have on quality of life for those living inside and outside of urban environments.

In dense urban centers, where property values are very high, cars and the infrastructure that supports them are going to get squeezed out of the transportation mix. This seems inevitable, as cities such as New York have already begun to reclaim their streets from the driving masses.  Organizations such as The Regional Plan Association are planning for this inevitable future and are thinking about inter-modal transportation. Specifically, what the transportation network will look like, and how it will function, when travelers/commuters must take a car to a train to a city where people walk, ride bikes, or take public transportation (or some version of that mix).

Here are some key takeaways from the conversation:

  • There is a need to invest in community connectivity, rather than just focus on increasing the capacity of feeder routes.  Parking locations should serve as connecting points in the transportation mix, not as an end point. This idea stands in stark contrast to efforts that are currently under way to widen highways, which will more efficiently get people to a place where they will be met with a snarl of traffic and no spots in which to park.
  • In densely populated areas, parking structures must be made to be adaptable.  The average parking structure may last 50-60 years, but the environment around it changes much more quickly.
  • Parking structures must be viewed as mixed use facilitates.  In urban environments, they can’t generate enough revenue as stand alone elements to compete with more valuable properties. And, as they stand now, they are a underutilized. Parking garages must be designed for people, not for cars.

The invitation to this event came by way of Marc Alt an organizer of the event who runs Open Source Cities, a group devoted to sharing a global collection of the best ideas on the future of cities. For those looking for additional information about the intersection of urbanism and transportation, check out some of these links :

Open Source Cities
Green Parking Council
Regional Plan Association
AECOM
BuroNY
TimHaahs
Urban Land Institute

And, check out this video from The Green Parking Council:

Sometime in the not too distant future, John wakes up in suburban Chicago on a Saturday morning and heads to a White Sox game in Detroit. Join him on a 300 mile journey to Detroits Comerica Park as he experiences the transportation options of the future: a neighborhood electric car share program, smart phone ticketing, high-speed rail, and connecting light rail. This clip is brought to you by America 2050 (www.America2050.org) as part of its A Better Tomorrow project to visualize Americas future communities and transportation systems.

BMW’s iVentures

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