The mass production of the automobile at the beginning of the 20th Century has created many challenges for the modern American city. One of these challenges faced by city planners and the society living in the city alike is the issue of parking. While some cities of the upper Northeast such as New York, Boston, and Chicago over time have converted to systems of mass public transit such as elaborate subway lines, the city of Atlanta still relies on citizen’s use of their own cars for transportation to get in, out, and around the city. Since Atlanta citizens and workers have adapted to a driving culture, the work of city planners to incorporate the multi-level parking decks has become vital the city’s history and future.
On June 3rd, 1925 the first multilevel parking deck was opened in Atlanta which laid out the foundation for the evolution of how people park in the city Though the daily routines of the parking deck have changed from full service valet to self-park, the function of the parking deck has not altered as it finally provided the city with needed internal development. The parking deck allows for people to gather within the city in mass numbers and be organized at their destination. It promotes social and economic development by allowing people to travel and gather at malls and department stores with ease. Another important aspect of the parking garage is that it allows for cities to be built upwards instead of outwards, as people can more or less park on top of each other in these “car hotels”.
The creation of the parking deck gave way to a driving city culture that has allowed for Atlanta to sprawl out and even the creation of a multitude of edge cities in the area. In the same way the parking deck has allowed for masses of people to meet, shop, and work in the confined areas of the modern downtown city. Due to Atlanta’s underdeveloped mass transit systems the presence of cars as transportation in the city is essential to the cities success. Therefore, as the city continues to grow and develop, the continuous integration of the parking deck is vital in assisting the driving culture and the overall social and economic promotion of the city.
Teaford, Jon C. The Metropolitan Revolution: the Rise of Post-urban America. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.
Barth, Gunther. City People: The Rise of Modern City Culture in Nineteenth-Century America. Oxford University Press: New York. 1980.