Washington, DC is a thriving, bustling city filled with people and money. Even after business hours, the streets are filled with cars, the sidewalks are filled with people, and there are street-level businesses doing good business.
One of the things to remember about historic preservation is that many of these older buildings don’t have underground parking garages, and to make them even remotely economically feasible, you need to provide parking for tenants, guests, and residents. New builds can hide the parking underground – old buildings can’t, and we have nothing in place to require it to happen. So, we maintain a sea of surface parking that we complain about endlessly, but we seldom come up with ideas to actually change that around.
Our city municipal parking garages are inadequate, antiquated, and ugly. Forget smart parking – in most lots, you can’t even pay without cash. We don’t have a comprehensive civic, urban plan to turn the surface parking into shovel-ready lots while concentrating the daily influx of cars into designated, well-designed, modern parking garages.
But here’s a homework assignment for Buffalo. DC’s Mount Vernon triangle was, until recently, a blighted shell of a neighborhood made up largely of cheap parking for commuters. Now? It’s re-making itself into a thriving community thanks to its proximity to downtown businesses and attractions. It’s “not just parking lots anymore“.
So, that’s Buffalo’s homework assignment – to learn a lesson from places like Mt Vernon triangle; to take its blight and turn it into something attractive and exciting. It doesn’t matter if a building is new or old – what matters is what’s inside them.