I had included a link to a video from vox but it seems to be missing from my original post ( https://www.vox.com/videos/2017/7/19/15993936/high-cost-of-free-parking )
I hadn't seen that other post, which is interesting. Personally, whenever I've had to drive downtown I've always parked in one of the structures and i've never felt I was paying too much. But normally if I'm going downtown I do it by bike exclusively.
I was thinking in terms of the sprawl areas like Laura Muresan mentioned. I work over by the airport and cutting through the businesses near 28th st. (and it's over-sized unoccupied parking lot) got me thinking this morning.
When it comes to parking downtown, does lack of parking mean at their destination, near their destination, or as far as they're willing to walk to their destination? Would the addition of more ramps as well as adding on to the skywalk alleviate some of this? Because the skywalk of Grand Rapids is awesome, but it's wayyyyyyyyyy too short. Whenever I hear about a lack of parking downtown I remember the GIANT lot near Charley's Crab & The Van Andel. A structure there, for instance could handle the load of the Van Andel and Charley's Crab and still open up enough room for more new development.
When it comes to parking structures, and I know I'm going a little off topic here, I'd rather see the ground levels of them be commercial & retail spaces so we're not dedicating the space just to parking.
Winter commuting for me is non-existant because I work near 44th & the Beltline which is the worst area to commute to by bike (in my opinion).
Winter Bicycle Commuting in general can be a challenge Bike lanes are hard to spot and not often cleared. If you haven't set aside the money for a specific winter bike, it can cause a lot of damage to the regular bicycle especially if the lanes aren't clear and ice & salt are building up in the gears.
The other challenge of winter bicycle commuting is that it's not always the easiest for the employee. Bike friendly businesses are great and help improve our standing in the bike friendly cities ranking (tourism points) but in order to qualify the businesses need to hit a certain criteria, which would include bike storage, changing & showering facilities, employee incentives and other things which make life a little easier for the bike commuter. But a lack of these things in the winter time compound the already difficult nature of biking in the winter time (IMO).