Though you may never be able to find one when you really need it, American cities are actually suffering from a glut of parking spaces– and those cities reclaiming the space are finding it profitable, David Harrison at the Wall Street Journal reports. Los Angeles County’s parking covers an area nearly the size of Houston, and UCLA Parking researcher Donald Shoup estimates that there are as many as 2 billion parking spaces in the US, or seven spots for every car.
“The Dutch have reclaimed land from the sea, and I think we can reclaim land from parking,” he told the WSJ. Buffalo, New York was one of the first to start taking back the city, and one parking lot is now both a grocery store and 201 affordable housing units. But in places where car-culture-establishing, 50s-era zoning rules (often just a thin pretext for racial segregation) have yet to be reformed, the costs quickly add up.
In Colorado, an apartment project will require 485 parking spaces for a 405-unit building they think only needs 390 spots. The developer said it would add over $100 to the average rent, which will largely be paid by employees of the nearby hospital that will likely walk to work instead of drive. Those without cars are also subsidizing those needing parking, with a garage increasing rents by 17% on average, and many pay for spots they don’t need in their rent. As a result, they pay $440 million for car parking they don’t need or use. (Wall Street Journal $)