Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Preservation and Parking

Most preservationist cringe at the thought of parking because it is a constant threat to historic structures. It is important to incorporate parking into an area without compromising the integrity of the built environment around it. As congested as the streets of most cities are the more cars that can fit on the street the better. An apartment building near Pennsylvania Station in Baltimore,MD has a parking structure that is actually taller than the apartment it is serving. Who wants to be a resident of the top floor when their view is a parking garage? A garage should be secondary to the building it is serving and not compete with it in size. This alone is a reason to promote street parking, but unfortunately this is not always a practical solution. A solution that may be more attractive to everyone would be if parking structures were aloud, but had height limitations. There are of course the limitations set by the International Building Codes; however, those are not enough in some cases. Cities need to protect their best interest. Tall parking structures are not only aesthetically displeasing, but also encourage more people to drive. Baltimore is not exactly known for its public transportation and with all the people that drive it will never be. Parking should be more of a concern to preservationists because it has everything to do with how well older buildings can be incorporated into today's lifestyle and needs. In the future massive parking structures might be avoidable if they are considered more incremental to the layout of the city.

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