Increased parking space is hindering city development by forcing New Haven to forego significant tax dollars, according to a study recently conducted by the University of Connecticut.
The study profiled six cities across the United States in order to determine the effects of expanded parking space on communities and residents. Researchers investigated several New England cities, including New Haven and Cambridge, Mass. According to the study, the dramatic growth of parking spaces in the past decade did not correspond to a significant increase in population or jobs in the city.
Despite the study’s findings, New Haven’s Director of Transportation, Traffic and Parking, Doug Hausladen ’04 said he is not concerned about increased parking since he thinks it makes New Haven more attractive to people visiting the city.
Land devoted to parking is taxed significantly less than other property. Though a minimum amount of parking is required for new buildings and developments, parking generates a relatively small amount of revenue compared to other property.
Alan Plattus, a Yale professor of architecture and founder of the Yale Urban Design Workshop, said conflicts over the number and cost of parking spaces are widespread throughout cities across the world and cannot be easily resolved. He explained that mandates requiring parking are often issued for singular developments in the city, and that multiple developments seldom collaborate to share parking space. This can result in excess space devoted to parking.
Hausladen said that though he thinks making parking more accessible is an important part of city development, he is also working to promote alternative methods of transportation in the city.
Mark Abraham, executive director of DataHaven, said a lot of city space was cleared to make way for parking structures in the 1960s and 70s, but that this decision lacked foresight, and was unable to accommodate the ensuing city growth. As a result, he said that today there is “tremendous demand” for residential space in the downtown area.
Abraham said taking excess parking space and turning it into useful space would resolve the chief concern outlined in the study — that New Haven is passing up on large amounts of tax dollars due to the current system.
Parking in New Haven is controlled by three separate entities, according to Hausladen. On-street parking is controlled by the City’s Traffic and Parking Committee, off-street lots and garages are controlled by the New Haven Parking Authority and privately owned lots exist as well.