They are gray and rectangular, and if you put all 2 billion of them together they would cover an area roughly the size of Connecticut, about 5,500 square miles. Parking lots are monotonically ubiquitous in life in the United States, but a growing number of cities and states refuse to force more on residents, arguing that they harm communities. and cause the climate crisis.
For years, the local government has required the construction of parking lots as part of any development. These measures, along with the widening highways that cut through predominantly minority neighborhoods and endless suburbs, have made cars the default mode of transportation for most people. America.
However, starting in January, California will become the first US state to enact a minimum parking ban, Pause their use in areas where public transportation is available in a move Governor Gavin Newsom calls “win-win” to reduce planet-warming emissions from cars, as well as help alleviate shortages. affordable housing in a state that is lagging in new housing construction.
Several cities across the country are now rushing to do the same, with mooring,Alaska; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Nashville, Tennessee, all recently relaxed or eliminated requirements for developers to build new parking lots. Gernot Wagner, a climate economist at Columbia Business School, who has accused political leaders of making city centers “look like they’ve been hit by bombs” by filling them with parking lots .
“Removing the parking minimum is a great step. It’s a piece of the puzzle in climate policy,” said Wagner, who has pointed out that transportation is the single largest source of planet-warming emissions in the United States. “There is a major rethink right now, which is good for cities and families.”
Climate campaigners and public transport advocates have caught on to the previously mysterious issue of parking minimums, posting overhead pictures on social media showing large urban lands allotted to parking lots and pushing city councils to promote denser communities with more opportunities for walking, cycling or catch buses and trains instead of just driving.
Cities such as Buffalo, New York; and Fayetteville, Arkansas, reduced the minimum parking size a few years ago and yes report an increase in activity to turn formerly derelict buildings into shops, apartments and restaurants. Previous developers considered such work to be unfeasible due to the requirement to construct car parks, which in many cases were several times larger than the building itself.
Nashville is among a wave of new cities hoping to do the same. “It’s a matter of climate, walkability, reduced traffic,” said Angie Henderson, member of the Nashville Urban Council who proposed parking changes for the city’s core area. traffic and car ownership needs of people.
Henderson said she was struck by how a dental clinic in her county was forced to build a parking lot for 45 cars, requiring clearing of trees from a nearby hillside, even though only room for a small number of patients.