W. Main St. Parking

The debate over how to redesign the streetscape of W. Main St. is heating up again.  There has been a lot of talk over the precious 85 parking spots on W. Main.  I emphasize “on” because these are the precious spots owned by the citizens of Charlottesville.  These 85 parking spots are a mere fraction, like less than 5%, of all the available parking in the corridor.  Please see the parking study done by Rodeside & Harwell:


There are more than 4,000 parking spots in the corridor.  What does that look like?  Well, I took the City’s GIS layer for parking and identified the parking lots within a short walking distance of W. Main.  I believe all these lots to be closer to W. Main than the distance most people walk to get to destinations on the Downtown Mall.  I added a couple that were not marked in the original data too.


Yes, there are clearly some areas here identified as parking lot that are not.  There are also some parking areas not identified here like the parking decks in the Flats,  the Jefferson Center and the new hotel at Ridge/McIntyre and W. Main.  This area also does not include the 85 on-street spots.  The area shown in red is over 605,000 ft2.  What would those areas look like all grouped together?  Good question.


The circle here is just over 603,000 ft2, smaller than the area calculated for parking.

Here is that area zoomed in.


This circle represents most of the area dedicated to parking cars in the W. Main corridor.  Ignoring the poor management and efficiency of use of on-street spots on W. Main, does the argument that removing a portion of just the 85 parking spots on W. Main that belong to the public in order to have a complete streets plan that protects pedestrians and bicyclists will destroy businesses or force churches to close seem specious?

Maybe a comparison between the area subsided for dedicated to motorists and vulnerable road users should be next.

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