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Parking headaches make a comeback

Matt Levin Jul 23, 2021
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Cities may be happy to let expanded restaurant patios remain in place, frustrating drivers searching for parking spaces. Andrej Ivanov/AFP via Getty Images

Parking headaches make a comeback

Matt Levin Jul 23, 2021
Heard on:
Cities may be happy to let expanded restaurant patios remain in place, frustrating drivers searching for parking spaces. Andrej Ivanov/AFP via Getty Images
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Parking’s one of those things nobody worried much about during most of the pandemic. What we needed was more space for little huts that kept us and our food warm when it was 40 degrees out. And special spots reserved for the DoorDash driver and curbside pickup. 

But now traffic is back. In some places, it’s as bad as it used to be. In others, it’s worse.

And parking spaces — they’re not back. Welcome to your new (old) headache.

I used to live in a part of Sacramento where street parking was pretty scarce. 

What used to be late-night parking-frustration salvation in front of Sacramento’s Beast + Bounty restaurant is now a delightful, outdoor eatery.

And Sacramento has a strong reason to keep it that way, said Jonathan Wicks, with the urban planning firm Walker Consultants. 

“A restaurant that’s turning tables and selling food and drink service in what previously was occupied by a 2-or-3-ton vehicle, that brings in more revenue for the city,” he said.

So does takeout and curbside pickup. The New York Post reported in May that the city lost more than 8,500 parking spots to pandemic outdoor dining. 

But parking at the office garage? Not a problem. 

“We’re seeing clients and customers saying, ‘Look, I’m not going to park 22 days a month anymore in my office,” Wicks said.

This is where the parking apps are stepping in. 

Neil Golson heads up marketing for FlashParking, a platform that connects parking lot owners with people who need space.

“One of our customers has several office buildings in Orlando [Florida] close to downtown Disney,” Golson said.

The offices hadn’t reopened, but Disney World had. So, they opened the lots for tourists.

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