There are about 160,000 workers in the greater Downtown Minneapolis area–you can see them formatting spreadsheets, etc. from very faraway. About 40% of those workers take transit into downtown, which is great! What if they did not take buses and trains, and they drove their cars instead?
Well, a lot of things–they’d be less healthy, would have harder winter commutes, and probably listen to more bad talk radio–but that’s all pretty abstract. Less abstract is this 64,000 space parking ramp they’d need:
Damn! That is a big parking ramp. There was some light mathematical and artistic license taken here; per the Sketchup artist, Grant Simons, you’d get about 230 spaces on a floor with the required car elevator, and a floor of parking is generally something like eight and a half feet…230 spots per level, divide that by 64,000 workers, gonna need 278 stories, and there’s your 2,365 foot ramp. For comparison, the IDS Center is 792 feet tall, though it does of course have levels of underground parking.
Don’t get too hung up on the logistics here, it’s just a thought experiment. This ramp would be pretty expensive, especially the upper 270 stories. Generally structured parking spots run builders something like $20,000 per spot, so even if there were zero extra construction costs associated with a supertall ramp, you’re looking at about $1.28 billion dollars, or approximately 1.33 Green Lines. I’m sure the public sector would take care of it.
It is a little jarring to see the big cube, but if you look at the map, there is quite a bit of parking currently, in full block surface lots and huge ramps and hidden under office towers and in podiums of apartment buildings. What if you smushed the ABC Ramps together and flipped the frankenramp on its side so as to make it a skyscraper? It’d be pretty big.
Here are a couple more shots: