Thursday, September 13, 2007

Your New Urban Factoid(s) of the Day

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"Do we need this much parking space?"

Purdue University researchers surveyed the total area devoted to parking in a midsize Midwestern county and found that parking spaces outnumbered resident drivers 3-to-1 and outnumbered resident families 11-to-1. The researchers found the total parking area to be larger than 1,000 football fields, or covering more than two square miles.

Source: Purdue University News (09/11/2007)

"Even I was surprised by these numbers," said Bryan Pijanowski, the associate professor of forestry and natural resources who led the study in Purdue's home county of Tippecanoe. "I can't help but wonder: Do we need this much parking space?"

The Purdue University News article goes on to note that large churches and "big-box" retailers . . . often feature parking lots that take up more than twice the area of their buildings . . . .

“Parking lots at big-box stores and mega-churches are rarely filled," Pijanowski said. A different approach to development planning could mitigate the monetary and environmental costs associated with parking areas, he said.

"In many areas of the world, particularly Europe, cities were planned prior to automobiles, and many locations are typically within walking distance," Pijanowski said. "This is just one different way to plan that has certain advantages."

"People can help by first realizing that our land is not unlimited and that we need to use it prudently," Pijanowski said. "They can seek a lifestyle that requires less automobile use.”

Yours for the walkable residential mixed use neighborhood that does not require 11 parking spaces per family,


1 comment:

TNelson said...

Yikes! Those statistics are pretty scary. It seems because here in the Midwest we have the space for this sprawl, the big-box stores and parking lots continue to come and move west, at least here in Omaha. I was amazed on my first trip to NYC to see how cars were “parked” when in the downtown area – the elevator style parking simply put one car on top of another. In a way they are lucky – there is NO place in Manhattan to build a parking lot…I notice some of the builders here are beginning to place retail stores and restaurants at the end of the big lots they built years ago – better use of space or more fast food places to junk up the city?