Nothing demonstrates the failure of the current City of Austins approach and transportation policy than these two pictures. We are constantly being told than density is key to Austins future, the central neighborhoods are ripped left right and center for opposing unrestricted growth, either through bogus PUD applications which for the most more about raising the lot property than actually doing something useful.
This week, Michael King in his point Austin column makes some great points about affordability, but then takes the easy way out by blaming the central neighborhoods for opposing multi-family development.
Finally, the City recently agreed to support the Project Connect proposal to go with the cities second rail line to somewhere which might need it, by the time its built, if the city can give developers sweet heart deals to actually build something that people won’t want to drive to/from. All this rather than tackle the very real problems we have now.
So, whats wrong with these pictures? They are two huge parking garages on the same1/2 mile square area, on the east side of the Congress Ave. bridge. The recently finished Hyatt Parking completely overshadows the other buildings on the lots. It has 8-stories, and has lights on 24 hours a day.
Diagonally opposite just behind the old RunTex store lot is another monster garage under construction prior to the build out of the RunTex lots.
Given the urbanist outlook, this is simply to be considered a total failure of both planning, transport policy and building regulation. Where are the cars coming from to fill these garages, how are they going to get here? How are they going to get out?
If land in downtown is so valuable, how come we can afford to give so much up for massive parking garages? For me this represents the worst of Austins problems. I live less than a mile from these monsters. I’m not anti-development, not anti-urban, but what this shows is for the most part Austin is clueless where it comes to urban efficiency, effective development standards, and most of all, can’t see beyond it’s increasingly long nose when it comes to transportation policy.
Sure, go ahead build the buildings, eliminate the parking requirement. I’d go further than this, we should actually ban the construction of these parking garages, or force them underground. Yep, there’s that pesky floodzone and the waterfront overlay. Hey, why give people unrealistic expectations that they are going to be able sensibly drive, by providing parking garages? Texas and Austins biggest asset, it’s size and available land, is also it’s biggest detraction when it comes to transport policy. Hey, if you can drive, fly, oh yeah and feel free to drive to the airport.