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The other hand is what happens when parking lots get developed...

Portsmouth, NH has made their downtown completely unvisitable by allowing three or four lots on the edge of the old downtown to be developed into mostly unoccupied luxury condos and hotels. The one municipal parking garage is constantly filled, and on-street parking has gotten cutthroat.

Portsmouth is a community of 20ķ and from a cursory look on Google maps relatively small area wise. .

If parking downtown is that in demand, has the city investigated things such a bus circulator, demand-based pricing to fund parking improvements, improving bike amenities and connections or negotiating public parking agreements with private lot owners? There's a lot of potential solutions here, but paving over business districts doesn't make sense.

It sounds like there's a lot of demand for parking and some land mistakenly allocated to condos and hotels, as evidenced by the low occupancy you cite! This could be a great opportunity for the enterprising business to put parking in place of that housing and charge market rate for it!

Or, if people won't pay market rate for land to store their car, maybe there actually isn't a shortage, and that land is already being put to better use by people who _are_ willing to pay.

This, of course, assumes that people are perfectly rational actors when it comes to things like paying for parking. I would submit that years of free or extremely cheap parking have made us not.

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