Urban Planning

Utrecht (NL) built too much city centre car parking for the road system to fill. Other examples like it? : urbanplanning

You may have heard from my city Utrecht (Netherlands) for removing a city centre motorway and restoring the previously existing canal. This former motorway was surrounded by above-ground multi-story parking garages. While restoring the canal, they built a huge parking garage underneath.

So they drastically reduced road capacity, while expanding parking capacity. Every weekend, there is highly congested traffic in the surrounding area. The city centre is mostly shopping/culture/restaurant oriented, so that’s when it’s the most busy. But the garages were far from full in 2016! During covid lockdowns, they closed some garages, and two of them (P2 and P6 if you want to google it) are still closed. The only way these will open again if is a lot of surface parking in the residential areas of the city centre is removed. But that won’t happen before 2030.

Since the congestion is already so bad, I suspect that the new road system couldn’t even physically handle the full capacity of the garages being used, since all these parking garages have to filled from a single two lane road that’s next to the new canal. There are big bottlenecks from one of the busiest bike routes in the world crossing it, and lots of buses, so this two lane road justifiably doesn’t get a lot of green time.

In addition, further road diets and road redesigns are planned from every direction cars can currently reach this area: northwest, north, northeast and south.

Are there any other cities that you are familiar with that did this? Spend huge amounts of money on new downtown parking that wasn’t needed, and then don’t provide enough road capacity towards it to fill it up?

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