Submitted by TM:
I read your article on parking pads. It is funny because I always thought they looked ugly. Though, a few were done well. My concern is that there needs to be a middle ground. Design restrictions rather than making parking pads illegal. For example, using water permeable cobble stone or brick (if tripping is an issue.)
Many elderly, handicapped and people with small children have a hard time getting around Buffalo. For instance, having to park a block away from home, going down the block and leaving the infant in the house, so that the mother can run back down the block and get the groceries and back to the house, then back to the car and back to the house while the infant is alone. Or the elder person having to make the walk. I find many people are not sympathetic to the argument to make things easier for them. So, I am looking at the numbers.
Homes without parking are worth significantly less than those with parking. I assume people want the driveways because there is nothing like trying to dig one’s car out of the snow in the street compared to pulling in a driveway where one can pay the neighbor’s kid to shovel. Worse is after doing all that digging, to return and see the spot taken and having to dig out a new spot just to park the car.
And this affects the average home value on a street. There is a great case study on Highland where several homes were sold near Elmwood in 2003. Most did not have parking, some had pads, a few had full drives with garage. Essentially, the full drive plus extra bedroom set the difference at $119,000 vs $215,000. So, which is worth more… the garden front or the parking? And how will the new Green Code affect Buffalo housing values which makes it illegal to install parking pads, at least well designed ones?
I noticed that the consultants on the code were from other urban areas and probably are not familiar with how valuable parking is to the average Buffalo citizen… as it is reflected in the dollars spent.
This comes because I watched as a women who just bought a house that had an illegal parking pad and was applying at City Hall to get it permitted (I was doing the same thing). Her concern was that she didn’t feel safe on the street with her young child and the cars that zip down the street. Three neighbors spoke against the permit. I saw the woman almost in tears. When a person feels threatened, to hear one’s neighbors discount it is heartbreaking. It is funny because in my area, no one protested the parking pad permit. But in my zip people value parking.
I am guessing the woman will put her home up for sale…I doubt she will get the price she paid now that it is confirmed parking is not allowed.
A small parking pad well designed, is an enabler and home value added.