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Parking Today: See How These Cities Used Parking to Reinforce "Urban Identity"

Lot S/L Parking Structure in the city of Palo Alto, California, features public art and colorful signage to express the city's character
More and more, cities are looking to reinvent themselves by revitalizing their urban cores. Finding a balance between generating needed growth while also preserving and elevating a city’s identity can pose a challenge.
So what is a crucial first step towards creating a vibrant community? Well-integrated parking! Efficient parking not only creates vital accessibility, but also provides opportunity to celebrate identity and create an experience while maximizing potential. By approaching parking as an integrated, vital part of the community, it is no longer an isolated component but an active contributor to a greater whole. See which parking best practices these cities are using to stimulate a thriving downtown core.
Blend In
As communities take measures to reshape downtowns, there is a strong desire to preserve and celebrate the identities that make them unique. This mindset extends to parking. By making a parking structure part of the community rather than a nondescript facility that stands out for the wrong reasons, cities can create an arrival experience for visitors. When the city of Santa Clarita , CA set out to revitalize its downtown as a dynamic arts and entertainment district, officials envisioned a parking structure to support it that would blend with the context of the downtown environment. The solution? A Main Street style façade incorporating faux retail store fronts and historical downtown detailing that reflects the adjacent 271-acre Old Town Newhall mixed-use development. To create further value for the community, the parking structure is being designed to feature space for special events on the top level.
In central downtown Santa Barbara, CA, the Mission Revival architectural style found throughout the area creates high level standards of design. When a parking structure was needed to support the Granada Theater, Courthouse and retail and restaurants, the design needed to capture that distinct regional style. The resulting Granada Garage is a treasure trove of architectural detailing and craftsmanship from scalloped parapets and terra cotta vases to wrought iron work and ornate signage that includes a Bike Station sign suspended from a pomegranate.
The Plaza Escuela parking structure in Walnut Creek, California, integrates parking above and alongside retail, which generates activity at the street level
Mix Things Up
A mixed-use parking structure such as the one found at Plaza Escuela in the city of Walnut Creek, CA is another way to integrate a parking structure in a growing downtown…

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