Ever tried to park your vehicle in one of the "compact car" spaces that seem to be growing in number in a higher proportion faster than the size of our collective vehicle fleet seems to be shrinking? It’s a case of developer economics, and they’re dealing with the issue the way any of us would: The city requires developers to have a certain number of parking spaces for each development, and developers have the option to build 35% of those spaces as "compact car" slots, whether they expect that proportion will be their clientele or not. Using the small-car development option saves developers precious land, which ultimately either reduces their cost (they need less land for the development) or allows them to build more building space (they make more money from rentals).
The Morning News has a good story about this issue and what the city is considering to solve the problem. One of the solutions: Simply require less spaces (compact or otherwise) for each development on the assumption (or hope, I guess) that over time, we’ll all be walking to developments more instead of driving, or that perhaps we’ll all be buying small cars in the future. The other solution: Eliminate the 35% allowance for developers to build small-car spaces, effectively reducing the number of spaces available, which goes right back to the earlier rationale.
This is an important issue, because the direction the city moves on future building density will ultimately have a big impact on our city’s future.