(Someone asked the above question on this Facebook post by Just Wright Citrus, where in response to concerns about parking shortages I had posted links to Strong Towns pieces about the value of abolishing parking minimums.)
Usually what happens when a downtown gets busy enough for a parking crunch is a combination of things.
Some people stop driving downtown; other people pay to park; other people combine trips and / or go at off-peak hours; some people who are able to do so, and live close by enough, start walking when it’s too much hassle to park.
Sometimes, merchants who were never willing to cooperate before suddenly start to be willing to share their parking lots because it is in everyone’s interest. This happens with public buildings too. Parking lots shouldn’t sit empty so much of the day when there are different rush times and people could allow each other’s customers to park there.
And, parking garages get built that were not financially viable before.
And sometimes public transportation routes that were not financially viable before are opened.
There’s no one solution but a combination of things happens all over the place. I have lived in many places where there was so-called “not enough parking downtown” and it always worked out if local leaders were flexible & creative.
I have more trust in letting the market work it out as opposed to government-regulated parking minimums.
• “Parking is one of the biggest paradoxes of American life. There are between one and two billion parking spaces in the United States, several for each car, and in cities the ratio is even higher. At the same time, to harried drivers seeking a spot near an appointment or to residents of densely populated neighborhoods, it can feel like there are never enough places to park. We’ll talk to Slate’s Henry Grabar about whether the parking shortage is real or imagined and how parking determines the design of our buildings, the character of our communities and the health of our environment. Grabar’s new book is ‘Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World.'” https://www.kqed.org/forum/2010101893079/wheres-my-spot-henry-grabar-on-how-parking-explains-the-world
• There is a strong case for abolishing parking requirements and letting the market take care of it. “End Parking Mandates & Subsidies. Strong communities are ending the mandates and subsidies that waste productive land on automobile storage.” https://www.strongtowns.org/parking
• “Does your city still have mandatory parking minimums? More North American communities than ever are doing away with this destructive dinosaur of a policy, which enshrines the most wasteful use of urban land into public policy, imposing huge costs on cities in lost prosperity, affordability, accessibility, and quality of life.” https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2021/11/22/announcing-a-new-and-improved-map-of-cities-that-have-removed-parking-minimums?format=amp
• Here is a blog post by Just Wright Citrus that corresponds to the Facebook post I linked above. He does a really good job of insisting on civil discourse on his page.
search tags #StrongTowns #endparkingminimums . Other suggested reads: anything by Jane Jacobs. Also, The High Cost of Free Parking book by Donald Shoup.