Blog Myth: There’s Not Enough Parking

May 26, 2021

Denver surface lots 1970s, daniels and fisher tower and 16th

Why wouldn’t you want enough parking? Don’t people need places to park when they go somewhere?

Well, sometimes.

We all need to go to different parts of a city for different reasons - Church, school, work, shopping, fun. Cars are one way to get around town. But so are busses, walking, biking, scootering, and unicycling. They all have their uses, and they all have trade-offs.

To have “enough” parking, that generally means that businesses and homes are legally required to set aside land for parking according to the zoning code. But required parking spaces spread out the places we want to go. And that makes it harder to go to where we need to go. And so more people want to drive, because it’s harder to walk to the store or to church. And so car traffic gets worse. But the bigger a city gets, the less useful a car is, because it’s just not possible to widen the roads enough for everyone to drive.

If it feels like there’s not “enough” parking, that’s a sign that a city has grown, and keeping everyone moving requires emphasizing different ways of getting around town. That doesn’t remove your ability to choose how you get around! It just means that the city is working through a growth spurt and trying to keep the city all working smoothly. Having “enough” parking makes that harder.

1920s denver, daniels and fisher tower and 16th st

An aerial view of downtown Denver, with the Daniels and Fisher tower and 16th Street at center, between 1922 and 1930.

Further Reading