There’s simply not a travel destination in the world where the most memorable feature is plenty of free parking. A vast expanse of pavement is usually not where you want to be, rather it’s an unfortunate and forgettable layover separating you from your real destination. Indeed, increasingly, the lack of parking or very expensive parking are considered a reliable indicator that you’re in a great urban place. There’s a “walkability index” calculation available for neighborhoods across the country. Parkability is not an actual thing.
So again this year, with the generous good humor of the City of Coeur d’Alene, KEA will be participating in the annual global Park(ing) Day event calling for a reclamation of parking places for the benefit of people and parks. We will reclaim a few downtown spaces on Friday to make our point.
Admittedly, downtown Coeur d’Alene is probably the most walkable and appealing destination in our entire region. But it’s not because of parking. In fact, much of the plan for renovating McEuen Park is motivated by removing a dreadful mistake of a parking lot from what is an extraordinary lakeside location. We’re not exactly fans of the replacement parking plans — we think the replacement parking is still oversupplied, expensive, and incorrectly located — but the controversy itself is perhaps a good sign. The more we really think about the costs, the more likely we’ll free ourselves from the burden of cheap parking.