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Park Department

Some interesting parking-related figures I came across today, in a forthcoming paper in the journal Land Use Policy, “The environmental and economic costs of sprawling parking lots in the United States,” by Amélie Y. Davis, Bryan C. Pijanowski, Kimberly Robinson and Bernard Engel:

A large proportion, over 6.5%, of the urban footprint, is allocated to parking lots in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. We estimated that this is the same size as 1075 American football fields. In our mall study area, we found that parking lots exceeded the footprint of buildings they service by 20%.

There are many more spaces than registered vehicles (1.7×), households (6.3×) or people living in the county of driving age (2.2×). This implies that if all of the vehicles in the county were removed from garages, driveways, and all of the roads and residential streets and they were parked in parking lots at the same time, there would still be 83,000 unused spaces throughout the county. Annual ecological services value of these parking area represents over $22 M if they are all replaced by wetlands.

If the percentage of parking lot area in the county (0.44%) is scaled to the area occupied by the conterminous United States, the entire states of Connecticut, and Massachusetts (12,550 + 20,305 = 32,855 km2 ) would be paved over with parking lots.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 at 3:47 pm and is filed under Parking, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “Park Department”

  1. Josh R Says:

    One of the big problems with urban planning in regards to parking lots is the nearly absolute dictate that a business must have enough parking to accommodate the “worst case” christmas rush kind of crowds that most places only see a handful of times a year. 85% of the time the lots are nowhere near full, but it’s better to have more land covered in asphalt then risk someone not being able to find a space.

    The book “The high cost of free parking” while dry, is a very good overview of this issue.

  2. Pete Warnock Says:

    It’s the dilemma of scaling. Malls need the extra capacity for the Holidays. Football stadiums need it 10 times a year. How do you effectively reallocate it?

    Amazon.com has extra capacity for the Holidays, too. A few years ago, it began renting unused extra capacity on an hourly basis. It provides affordable, on-demand bandwidth for short-term needs.

  3. Michiel Says:

    For peak demand, companies and municipalities should share parking space. E.g. parkings spaces of offices are not used on saturday when lots of people are shopping. (As amazon.com does with server capacity.) It saves a lot of money and space! In the Netherlands with have percentages of capacity of use of parking spaces in time (morning, afternoon, evening, weekdays vs weekends).

  4. Kevin Love Says:

    Eliminating car parking is an excellent way of reducing car use. There is zero car parking at both where I live and where I work in Toronto. Needless to say, I don’t drive a car to work.

    Driving would mean that I would have to walk to and from off-site car parking for both my home and workplace. It would take me almost four times as long to get to work. And I would pay about $350 per month for each car parking spot – that’s $700 per month total.

    That is the sort of disincentive that is needed everywhere.

    We could at least start with employees who get “free” parking spots at their workplace by defining that as a taxable benefit. That would discourage driving cars to work and raise some badly needed tax dollars at the same time.

  5. John Says:

    All ideas above are good. If one-way lanes were used, got used-to, and enforced, some area percentage could be reduced for a same-capacity lot.Two way lanes are not really needed here.

  6. lalahsghost Says:

    Parking garages cut the space needed… How about we build our shopping centers ?on top of them? or below them? or some sort of manner like that in order to more efficiently use space… There is always up!

  7. The Grinch Says:

    If there’s extra parking space JUST for holidays, let’s abolish the holidays.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

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