Should New South Kensington Residents Get Free Parking?

There’s a proposal for 320 new apartments to be built in what was once a scrap yard in South Kensington. The burgeoning community–also site of the new 3rd Ward, the second location of the Brooklyn-based co-working juggernaut–is filled with so much promise, it’s attracting interest from residential developers who now see gold where scrap used to be.

And we’re talking a lot of gold. The project, which was recently pitched by Canus Corporation at a meeting of the South Kensington Community Partners, is called Soko Lofts and would consist of three buildings–two on Second Street and the third on American. The buildings would be primarily residential with some commercial space, and there would be a semi-public plaza as well.

According to PlanPhilly, one of the issues covered at the meeting was, of course, parking. One of the buildings is proposed with 50 above-ground parking spaces; there would be another 50 parking spaces in a courtyard between the buildings. Parking would not be included in the rent. PlanPhilly’s Kellie Patrick Gates wrote: “[Residents] want the parking to be free to Soko residents, because they believe many would otherwise chose to park on residential streets instead of paying to park within the complex.”

In other words, current residents don’t want to have to battle hundreds of new neighbors for their customary parking spots.

But the folks at Keystone Politics say the developer is taking a progressive approach to the city’s parking mandate, and the neighbors’ expectations are upside down. “Think about what’s going to happen,” Jon Geeting writes.

There will be 320 housing units, and 50 parking spaces. If the spaces are leased, as the developer has proposed, then the housing units are going to attract more households who don’t own cars. People won’t be moving in expecting to have a parking space. If the parking spaces are free, the units will attract more households with cars. They’ll take the gamble, thinking they can beat the other residents to the free spaces every day. Unpriced parking is what will bring more cars to the neighborhood, and that’s when you’ll get more off-street parking congestion.

320 apartments proposed for former south kensington scrap yard [PlanPhilly]
South Kensington Developer Takes Progressive Approach to Parking [Keystone Politics]