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Parking Wars

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As Dan Gilbert's people continue to plan the marriage of parking and shopping we're calling the Z Lot, there's interesting news from the Atlantic. According to a recent study, free, convenient parking often hurts retailers more than it helps (not that anyone said the Z Lot would be free). The study found that shopkeepers vastly underestimated the percentage of customers who traveled to stores by foot or transit, and that many parking spaces are occupied by local workers rather than shoppers. Admittedly, the study took place in London, and Detroit is certainly far from that. But the most important finding of the survey is likely universal: Customers care about atmosphere and retail variety far more than convenience. [Atlantic Cities]