A complaint often lodged against transit-oriented development projects is that dense new multi-story buildings will always results in more cars, increasing neighborhood congestion. But perhaps that isn't the full story. In a studied and lengthy response to similar grievances about the Montrose Green development proposal, Streetsblog crunched some numbers. The five-story building's ratio of tenants-to-parking spaces would be in line with neighborhood averages, while transportation trends suggest the number of people driving regularly will continue to decrease.
Vehicle counts on Montrose, between Western and Ashland, show 42 percent fewer cars (5,000 cars per day) between 2006 and 2010, the most recent data available. Car traffic also declined by 23 percent, or 2,400 cars, on Damen across Montrose. Since then, citywide miles driven people have continued to fall, dropping by 4.4 percent between 2010 and 2013.
In addition, other studies suggested that parking needs are often over-estimated, while nearby residents at a recent hearing about the building said a structure like this next to an 'L' stop actually makes the entire neighborhood less car-dependent by adding more walkable dining and retail options.
It seems that every site has a different story and numerous neighborhood quirks to consider, but time and time again debates about new developments are centering around cars, and how new buildings, new residents and new parking problems will change the street-level experience of the neighborhood. This case study provides a good example of what data-driven decision making could look like.
·Montrose Green TOD Actually Fits Its Neighborhood Just Fine [Streetsblog]
·Previous Montrose Green coverage [Curbed]
·Previous Transit-Oriented Development coverage [Curbed]