Mall garage not worth one magic wish
Last week, Don Dilworth suggested giant underground parking garages beneath the Mall.
Suggestions to build municipal parking garages pop up often. Maybe it's the Mall, or U Street, or Cleveland Park.
But there actually are garages, like the one at the Reagan Building, which happens to be expensive -- it costs $8 for one hour and $20 for 3 hours. So when Mr. Dilworth argues for a garage, really he's arguing for a cheap garage.
And that's the problem. Underground garages are expensive. Really expensive. In building projects, underground spaces can run $50-60,000 per space. If a magic parking genie appeared and said he'd grant a free garage under the Mall, maybe it would be nice, though it would also attract more traffic.
But in the real world, especially one where the federal government is not going to build it (they aren't willing to even fund keeping the grass alive), the question is what else won't get funded. If a city wants to bring customers to a business district, building a garage is one option, but adding better bus service is another. U Street, Columbia Heights, and Adams Morgan got a new Circulator last year, which has been extremely successful.
In other words, if the magic genie wanted to give us a garage, we might say yes, but if he was willing to grant just one wish worth millions of dollars, there are better things to wish for.
David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.
David Alpert, garages in D.C., D.C. underground garages
| July 15, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network, National Mall, parks, traffic, transportation
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