Manville Sees Pandemic Shift in Parking Paradigm

Associate Professor of Urban Planning Michael Manville spoke to Commercial Observer about how the pandemic opened up new possibilities to utilize streets and parking spaces. Many restaurants were able to save their businesses by expanding outdoor seating into parking lots and street parking spaces; other parking spaces have been converted to electric vehicle charging stations and even ghost kitchens. “The pandemic gave everyone this very vivid illustration of how much space, even in very vibrant parts of their area, is devoted to surface parking,” Manville said. “It helped them understand, more than any other sort of medium could, just how much of this scarce resource of urban land is devoted to holding empty cars.” These pandemic-triggered changes have accelerated a shift toward reevaluating the parking paradigm, including a Los Angeles city ordinance that does not require builders to add new parking and efforts to transform some downtown parking structures into affordable housing units.

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