Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Shrinking Parking Lots.

A few years ago, I wrote about the “streetwise parking” trend we are seeing, where parking fields are getting smaller and smarter. In the 4 years that have passed since that post, we are seeing more innovative parking solutions in our own projects. Two examples:

  • Merchant’s Walk, a Whole Foods-anchored retail center that included hybrid street lights, charging stations for electric vehicles and a two-story parking structure that reduced the footprint.
  • Target Homewood, an urban infill with post-tensioned beams and reinforced slabs to build the store over the parking.

More and more municipalities are modifying their parking minimums. Parking minimums are designed to accommodate traffic on the busiest days of the year–like Black Friday for retail–but seems to me they often fill up our cities with empty space that does not add value.

Strong Towns, a non-profit that advocates financial strength and resilience in America’s cities, towns and neighborhoods, created a map of all the U.S. cities that have gotten rid of parking minimums. Each pin tells what’s happening in that particular city. Take a look. 

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.