Lessons from Market Street

Some will recognize the image above as a still from the film “A Trip Down Market Street”, shot in 1906 in San Francisco by Harry Miles. Notable for capturing images of San Francisco only days before much of the city was destroyed by earthquake and fire, the film also depicts the American streetscape as it was before the private automobile became the dominant form of transportation.

The freedom of travel and vibrant street life on display is a world apart from today’s urban streetscapes: streetcars, horsedrawn carriages, cars, pedestrians, and cyclists move across an open, shared streetscape, unconstrained by lanes, speed limits, or stoplights. It’s a snapshot of an urban streetscape before private cars became the dominant form of transportation. For today’s urbanists, the democratic design of Market Street contains a lesson that can, and should, be reincorporated into today’s cities: a streetscape that gave each mode of transportation equal claim to the public right of way.

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Parking Updates and Why They Matter: Part Two

 

KW has saved 2,946 unnecessary parking spaces from Atlanta, but we still need to challenge the legitimacy of minimum parking requirements.

A few months ago we sang the praises of Atlanta’s new parking-related zoning updates, and hinted at a follow-up post. Our feelings on parking requirements aren’t a big secret: we want them gone. But we know that in a city like Atlanta, parking is an important part of most projects. We also know that parking requirements rarely correlate to how much parking a project truly needs to be successful.

Over the last decade (a majority in the last 4 years), we have worked on countless projects where the amount of zoning-required-parking didn’t match up with the proposed uses. In that time, we have pursued over 20 parking variances. To date, we have saved 2,946 unnecessary parking spaces from afflicting our city. Yes, you read that right. Nearly 3,000 parking spaces beyond what these projects needed were required by our zoning code. Note that 2,646 of these spaces were to be located ITB (inside the Beltline – or, in our most walkable, transit-rich core).

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