Apr 12, 2023 - News

Study: Nearly a third of downtown Detroit is parking

Areas of downtown Detroit covered in parking lots or garages are shown in red; Screenshot: Parking Reform Network

Detroit's downtown has more parking lots or garages than most other major U.S. metros. The central business district itself is 30% parking, per Parking Reform Network.

Why it matters: The national nonprofit, as well as local groups over the years, say policies creating overwhelming amounts of downtown parking spots have altered the places we live.

Context: Parking takes up space that could be used for real estate development that brings jobs or housing, activist group Detroiters for Parking Reform argues, per Detour.

  • Plus, an emphasis on driving de-incentivizes public transit and makes cities less walkable, Parking Reform contends. Low-income residents who are less likely to have cars end up subsidizing parking costs for higher-income residents.

Zoom out: Arlington, Texas had the highest percentage of downtown parking (42%), while San Francisco and Chicago's central areas were among those with the lowest (4%).

  • Columbus scored 27%, Atlanta 25% and Pittsburgh 18%, per Parking Reform.

Between the lines: The network's parking maps include surface lots and above-ground structures, but not underground parking or structures that take up multiple floors of a building.

  • The maps measure the cities' "densest, most centrally located, and most valuable real estate."

Of note: Parking Reform's map includes downtown and Greektown but not the Ilitch-owned, parking-heavy areas around Little Caesars Arena.


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