Think Now About Adapting Parking Garages in the Future

Yes, the building you’re working on today requires parking spaces, but how many will you need for cars 10, 20, 30 years from now? Mark Santos of DESMAN, a design management firm that specializes in parking consulting, design, planning, and restoration, advises you to be aware of trends and start thinking about ways to adapt parking spaces in the future.

“Working from home, ride-sharing, and autonomous vehicles all can be expected to reduce demand for parking around the office, so the first step is make sure that what you’re planning is appropriate for the structure’s anticipated use,” Santos writes. Study peak occupancy, and identify existing unused parking.

Along with those present-day concerns, think about how the garage can be repurposed when less space is needed. “This process is called ‘adaptive reuse and can be as simple as allocating areas for passenger loading and unloading and as large scale as adding in restaurants,
shops, offices, or hotels to produce a mixed-use space,” Santos says.

Reclaim rooftops for pedestrians and add greenery that can mitigate flooding from storm runoff. Alternatively, think about adding an apartment complex to your parking garage. That’s a lot of work, but it would solve the dual issues of providing more housing and providing more reasons to need the parking spaces that remain.