One half of downtown’s footprint is devoted to parking, more often than not surface lots. And it still is not enough according to a recent analysis conducted by Desman Associates and funded by the Buffalo Board of Parking. The study concluded there will be a deficit of parking spaces depending on growth trends and future development scenarios. It calls for the construction of several new parking structures providing an additional 2,600 spaces.
Parking ramps are planned as part of the Bass Pro/Canal Side development, a few are planned to be integrated into mixed-use buildings. There will also be a significant ramp built on a surface lot behind the Marine Drive Apartments that would be connected to Bass Pro on the Aud site by an overhead walkway.
Buffalo’s parking ramps have been a downer for the most part, though the Fernbach Ramp did include ground-floor commercial space and the Augsburger ramp expansion looks decent but did not install retail space along Huron Street as earlier planned (above).
It does not have to be so. Ramps can be aesthetically interesting if not pleasing, and contribute to rather than kill the streetscape. Santa Monica “gets it,” so do many other cities. Here’s one in San Francisco:
This seven-level parking garage is being constructed by the UC Hastings College of Law. It includes 430 spaces (300 for the college, 130 for the public), two CarShare pods, secure bike storage and 9,000 square feet of ground floor retail intended to “encourage students to linger in the community.”
Buffalo gets it too. On paper.
Buffalo’s award-winning Queen City Hub plan (2003) says new infrastructure and development downtown should “contribute to the quality of the public realm and its maintenance.” It goes on to acknowledge that “existing ramps and surface parking lots are some of the main detractors from the appearance of downtown…There are no design standards for new or existing parking ramps. New standards are required to enhance screening and ensure designs and mixed-use spaces to retain pedestrian friendly and animated streetscapes.” We can do better.
Tomorrow: Parking in a glass box.
Hastings ramp photo by curbed.com More on downtown Buffalo’s parking here.