Monday, June 30, 2014

They Paved Pajarito, and Put Up a Parking Lot....

With apologies to Joni Mitchell, and a thanks and a tip of the brain bucket to Jon Niehof for sending me the link...this video just seemed soooo relevant to BombTown given we now have not one but two additional large swaths of asphalt in Los Alamos, one at the new county administration building and one at the new Smith's Marketplace. Seems this whole town is continuing to degenerate (pointed out with areal photos by urban planner Michael Ronkin a decade ago) into a low density sea of asphalt, and no one can think outside the box. A comprehensive plan has been a third rail of the development discussion for as long as I can remember. County gets land, puts up a new parking lot. Heck, even a parking structure would be more compact, albeit more expensive. But I wonder what we would save in useable, compact development.

Donald Shoup talks about this subsidization of parking via zoning and the expectation of free parking, and how it ain't so free. He is a prof of urban planning at UCLA. Example

Also, a tip of the hat to Strong Towns, where this video is posted. The original is at the real Cincinnati Preservation Collective site, here.

This New Rules post over at Strong Towns is quite relevant.


 Los Alamos Townsite from the air, vintage, the Michael Ronkin visit.
New Smith's Marketplace location, formerly LA Schools buildings, in lower right.
Click picture for full size version. 


Jimbo said...

Why anyone would be surprised by the sea of asphalt is beyond me. We all knew what we were in for when we signed up to sell our souls.

Khal said...

Still pisses me off. I got tired of beating my head against the wall trying to get wording into the Transportation Board work plan to make this sort of planning part of our mission. Council didn't want to hear it.

Occasionally, someone like Robert Gibson, who I consider one of the most thoughtful public citizens in Bombtown, reminds us that we need to do more comprehensive planning if we are to do more than move our lips when it comes to good walkability and lack of unregulated sprawl. That too seems to fall on deaf ears.

If there were more folks like Robert in the GOP, I'd be there too, come to think of it.

Jimbo said...

The problem is, the local power mongers vilify comprehensive planning as "analysis paralysis"--a catchy ad hominem red herring designed to persuade people that action, any action, is good, regardless of the quality of the finished product or the unintended consequences that result.

That same group has also branded all dissent as "negativity" and has quieted dissenters with ad-hominem whisper campaigns, open derision,and social and political banishment.

Khal said...

It is certainly possible to over-plan, but its also possible to under plan and end up with a spider web of mismatched infrastructure and buildings with marginal or cobbled together connectivity. I'm still waiting to see if the new Krogerville Mall passes the June Ryti Access Test from the north side of Trinity Drive. Sadly, June is no longer with us to test it.

Financial sustainability is a separate and critical issue. Krogerville brings no new money to the Hill, and if LANL contracts, we will likely fall below the level where we can sustain another mall. Not enough done directly to lure new revenue sources such as the new biopark up here, such as state of the art high speed broadband and better electrical infrastructure. And, of course, my pet project: a real university with graduate programs in the sciences (hence dovetailing with LANL) over at a restored DP mesa.

Still milking the same old cow...

Steve A said...

Parking at home in a driveway is NOT subsidized parking. OTOH, I do NOT favor taxpayer subsidized car storage on streets in residential neighborhoods. Such subsidies lead to DZBL death traps.

Khal said...

In many places, parking is part of the zoning code, Los Alamos included. So parking is definitely not free, but it is paid for indirectly in land costs (residential and commercial) and the cost of doing business.

We have been looking at homes in Santa Fe, more precisely in the Casa Solana neighborhood. Many homes converted garages into additional living space and the coste of these homes is pretty high. The expectation is you park on the street or in the still existing driveways. But the popular value is pretty clear--better to have an extra bedroom or family room than a garage. That's tough on me, with my bicycles, motorcycle, and motorhead behavior.

Khal said...

"Many homeowners converted garages..."

Gawd, I must be tired.