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Worst Parking Craters

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Ohio has plenty of 'em but any from around the USA are fair game. This is in Kansas City and St. Louis. BTW, it also shows why the federal Highway Trust Fund is bankrupt -- overbuilt highway infrastructure and not enough gas tax revenues coming in to justify keeping this labyrinth of lanes.....

 

‏@StreetsblogNet

Today's #ParkingMadness matchup: Kansas City vs St Louis http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/03/24/parking-madness-st-louis-vs-kansas-city/ … Vote for the worst parking crater! pic.twitter.com/4nhDicjWUx

 

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"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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"Parking lots return 83 to 95 percent less property tax revenue to a city per acre than buildings do"....

 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Parking Craters Aren’t Just Ugly, They’re a Cancer on Your City’s Downtown

by Payton Chung

 

Streetsblog’s Parking Madness competition has highlighted the blight that results when large surface parking lots take over a city’s downtown. Even though Rochester, winner of 2014′s Golden Crater, certainly gains bragging rights, all of the competitors have something to worry about: Cumulatively, the past 50 years of building parking have had a debilitating effect on America’s downtowns.

 

Streetsblog recently spoke with Chris McCahill of the State Smart Transportation Initiative in Madison, Wisconsin, to learn about his research into how parking affects small cities’ downtowns. Most recently, McCahill and his co-authors have shown how policy makers’ preoccupation with parking not only hollows out city centers, it also decimates the downtown tax base.

 

McCahill began his analysis as a University of Connecticut Ph.D. student in 2006, choosing to compare the postwar evolution of six small, built-up, relatively slow-growing cities: Arlington, Virginia; Berkeley, California; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut; Lowell, Massachusetts; and New Haven, Connecticut. For each of these cities, McCahill and his collaborators, most frequently professor Norman Garrick, have gone far beyond the usual publicly available statistics and hand-measured the number of parking spaces (both on- and off-street) and the size of buildings from aerial photos.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/04/10/parking-craters-arent-just-ugly-theyre-a-cancer-on-your-citys-downtown/


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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you could also tax land value higher than building value...therefore making it more expensive to own a parking lot than to build a building on it.

 

Sure you could. But what is the motivation for the tax? If the tax is applied to hurt a certain taxpayer, it's punitive and therefore illegal.


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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you could also tax land value higher than building value...therefore making it more expensive to own a parking lot than to build a building on it.

 

Sure you could. But what is the motivation for the tax? If the tax is applied to hurt a certain taxpayer, it's punitive and therefore illegal.

 

Taxing only the value of the land and not taxing the improvements would be the way to achieve that goal.

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you could also tax land value higher than building value...therefore making it more expensive to own a parking lot than to build a building on it.

 

Sure you could. But what is the motivation for the tax? If the tax is applied to hurt a certain taxpayer, it's punitive and therefore illegal.

 

A land value tax would be applied uniformly across an area. For instance, all properties in downtown Cleveland could be charged a property tax based 80% off their land value and 20% off their building improvements. This would actually encourage property owners to construct buildings rather than the current tax which discourages building.

 

It has been done other places, most notably Pittsburgh.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_value_tax_in_the_United_States

 

http://www.urbantoolsconsult.org/blog/2014/09/11/More-evidence-confirms-the-error-of-stopping-land-value-tax-in-Pittsburgh.aspx

 

And it is a direct recommendation of the VibrantNEO document:

http://vibrantneo.org/tag/property-value/

(initiative 1.6)

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I found this study from Minneapolis explaining some of the economics at play.

 

http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/www/groups/public/@cped/documents/webcontent/wcms1p-114547.pdf

 

The problem is although surface parking lots can suck the life out of a given area they can be pretty valuable to individual owners. It is kind of like a Tragedy of the Commons situation where an individual can make personal profit by depleting a shared resource.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

 

In this case, the shared resource is the vitality of a city!

 


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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If the goal is to increase revenue, especially for a growing and costly activity such as handling stormwater run-off and it is applied uniformly across a taxing district (i.e.: a city), then it's probably not punitive.


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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There's nothing wrong with a tax on parking.  Cleveland already has one.  Here's an (old) article about failing to enforce it.

 

http://blog.cleveland.com/plaindealer/2007/12/parking_tax_enforcement_still.html

 

OMG, no one said there was anything wrong with it. How and why it is being applied can be wrong. Or do I need to say that AGAIN??


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"Punitive" taxes already exist, all over the place.  And Cleveland already has a parking tax.  That tax can go up.  It has before.  "Punitive" doesn't enter into it. 

 

Cleveland should raise its tax on surface parking, to encourage (and fund) alternative land uses and alternative means of transport.  Just take the existing rate and increase it.  Use the funds for... zoning reform, storefront renovation, gang units, bike lanes, whatever.

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And when you plan to use a tax to raise revenue generally, then it is not punitive. But if you use a tax to discourage an activity or behavior then it is punitive and subject to legal action. And anytime someone says "Just" do something, it usually glosses over its complexity. There's a reason why the tax on parking is low and not uneforced. Care to take a guess why? Take a look at who owns parking lots and who gives money to elected city officials. You will see names like Shaia, Frangos, Kassouf and their companies and PACs all throughout the campaign finance reports. Get competing interests to contribute politically at least as much as they do and you just might see the parking tax go up and the amount of surface parking lots go down.


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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That's kind of what I'm getting at, the issue is political rather than legal.  Surface parking has powerful backers who influence city policy.  Considering the relationship between that policy and their own profit interests, and considering the campaign contributions they make, one might call that influence corrupt. 

 

Are we not a competing interest?  I'm suggesting an alternative policy, one that might be worth fighting for.  Or not.  But we shouldn't get hung up on "complexities" that have done nothing to stop a broad host of existing punitive taxes.  As you've identified, the real issue is that people who profit from surface parking happen to prefer the status quo.  Those people aren't kings.  They have no more right to influence municipal tax policy than we do.

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If they have more money than you, then yes they do have more rights.


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