Searching for Parking: Enormous Waste of Time & Money (Note: Cars Don’t Fit in the City)

think this place should be full of parking? if parking was provided here like it is around Wal-Marts, a LOT fewer people would be interested in visiting, filming, or living here.

Parking, if only there were more of it your life would be easier, right? Not really. Look at the parking lot of a Wal-Mart Supercenter. It spreads everything out so much you “have to” drive from one side of the Wal-Mart to the store on the other side of the shopping center to avoid walking through a desert of concrete and litter. Imagine your whole city designed like that.

Nonetheless, parking is not easy in a city, as it shouldn’t be. A relatively large amount of people live in a relatively small area in a city, that’s what a city is. And if most of them (or even a large number of them) decide they want to drive somewhere in the city, they are going to find it is difficult to find parking. A recent study has quantified that a bit in Brooklyn, New York.

“A study by Transportation Alternatives found that up to 45 percent of traffic in an area of Brooklyn was caused by cars circling the streets looking for parking.”

Previous studies by UCLA professor of urban planning Donald Shoup have gotten into even more detail on this matter. In 2006, Shoup calculated that, “within a year, vehicles searching for parking in a small business district in LA consumed 47,000 gallons of gas and produced 730 tons of carbon dioxide.”

Teams of researchers have tried to find technological answers to this to try to help people find parking more efficiently, but that is never going to solve the problem. Cities aren’t made for cars! John Thackara of Observers Room has my back here:

In January 2011 alone, 4,474,00 cars were produced. We’re adding 50 million cars a year to the 600,000,000 that are already here — and for 95 percent of the time, those 600,000,000 cars sit idle, wasting space.

Systems that help people locate not-yet-wasted parking places are a technological form of spatial cancer.

Thank you. Agreed.

Bottom line, if you want to drive everywhere, you don’t want to live in a city. If you want to live in a city, you don’t want to drive everywhere. These things are systematically opposed to each other.

Photo Credit: andrew mace—

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Written by Zach

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009.

Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity.

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