The United States has a lot of parking:
The United States has about two billion parking spots, according to some estimates — nearly seven for every car. In some cities, as much as 14 percent of land area is covered with the black asphalt that engulfs malls, apartment buildings and commercial strips.
In a country where driving is an essential part of the regular and idealized way of life, space is required for vehicles when they are not in use. Most locations requires parking so people can drive and park there. Communities accrue a lot of parking, sometimes for parking that serves multiple locations (such as a downtown parking garage) and sometimes for a single use (like a parking lot in front of a big box store).
Increased density would help solve this problem without necessarily asking for people to drive less. Put desirable locations near each other and then centralize parking or share parking facilities so that parking is not unnecessarily duplicated. If “surban” developments are more popular or “fifteen minutes cities” emerge in greater numbers, perhaps this might help.
Less driving could also help. As could expectations about how much parking is needed; it is for peak and unusual times that rarely occur?
If enough places and concerned actors are able to slow the growth of parking lots and/or eliminate some, it is interesting to imagine communities with fewer parking spaces in the future. How might such land be positively used?
One thought on “Two numbers that show how much space the United States devotes to parking”
Great blog post! I had no idea the United States had about two billion parking spots–that’s a staggering number. Your suggestions for increased density and reevaluating how much parking is needed are interesting alternatives. Have you seen any examples of cities or developments that have successfully implemented centralized parking or shared parking facilities?
Have a great day!
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