If you needed to be shown how completely entangled this parking lot-led development paradigm/morass is, look no further:
Transit-oriented development isn’t stymied by outdated zoning, unwilling developers or a lack of space. It turns out, banks, wedded to old-fashioned lending standards that stress parking, may pose the biggest blockade by denying financing.
The reason: Lenders operate from a tried-and-true principle that maintains more parking means less risk and a higher return on their investment. But ditching cars is the whole point of urban developers looking to create 24-hour live, work and play environments that hug light-rail hubs.
You’ve been in this lending situation, and so have seen these people. They’re not computer algorithms – they’re people. But because bank executives and underwriters, lawyers and loan officers cannot grasp the concept of a walkable mix of residential, retail and office space, they glom onto surface parking as a deal breaker/maker for real estate development.
Granted this was always going to be difficult; when the new “bus technology” began replacing street cars back in the 1920’s, it was always going to be tough to go back. But the twenties will be here again soon, and we’ll be building a future that has a look and feel of the past – except we’ll call it retrofitting communities to build a living environment, or some such. Hopefully the banks will one day again be right next to the YMCA.
Plus… if that weren’t enough, it’s blog action day! They should know that’s everyday around here.