A recent blog post on the Strong Town’s website about addressing the “there’s no parking” argument is timely as Omaha starts to implement changes to parking policies based on a downtown parking study done in 2011 and recommendations from the City Parking Manager. At least one goal of these changes is to balance out supply and demand and ultimately improve land use. As we’ve noted in an earlier blog post, Omaha seems to have a serious “parking problem,” not because there isn’t enough parking—the parking study referred to above found that there is plenty of parking in downtown Omaha—but because ever more space is being devoted to parking cars rather than to higher, more economically beneficial purposes that also enable Omaha to become more walkable, bikeable, and transit friendly.
Check out just how much space has been given over to parking in the last several decades in downtown Omaha (red squares are surface parking lots and yellow squares are parking garages):
These photos are part of a presentation given by Derek Miller from the City of Omaha Planning Department, who allowed us to use them for this post. Thank you!
A planned new development on a parking lot in North Downtown may indicate a hopeful reversal in this trend and the case being made for the Midtown Connector/Streetcar directly relates to improving land use for better economic development, in part by reducing the need to give up so much space to parking. Better, more dense land use is essential to creating a more walk-, bike-, and transit-friendly city.