Using the Parking Spaces Wisely
Are you aware that there are more than one hundred million parking spaces available in the United States of America? Almost one third of these spaces are assigned to parking lots. I have come across a study which reveals that there are maybe four parking spots for every car in this country. For example, if you take a city like Houston, there are supposed to be at least fifteen parking spots per resident.
Recently I came across an article in a magazine, ‘Rethinking a Lot’, discussing a new study being carried out on parking spaces by the urban planning researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They have pointed out that in some cities in the USA, parking lots are covering more than one-third of the available land area. This makes them the single most prominent lanscape feature of our building environment.
This accounts for a whole lot of pavement and park paving Edmonton.
It also reminds me of reading what a critic, Lewis Mumford, spoke about almost five decades ago when he informed thatprivate cars had the right to gain access to almost every building in a city; he also went on to say that this right will eventually destroy the space in cities.
Five decades hence, the spaces are being converted into parking lots at a rapid pace in the cities as well as their suburbs. It somehow reminds me of the way people use up all those millions of plastic water bottles and those disposable diapers.
What can be done then?
To begin with, you and I have to take these parking lots with a more seriously in terms of their architecture. Urban planners have not been so wise concerning their designs. You will have to think beyond the celebrity type architectural garages and the green designs; you will have to visualize the parking lots as valuable public spaces and as part of an important infrastructure of our sidewalks and streets.
I have seen how hundreds of such parking lots have been converted into farmer markets or enclosures for conducting street hockey matches. At other places, you may come across church services or teenage parties.
It is time to encourage a little bit of diversity. When the "parking day" was celebrated as an event some months ago, it encouraged people to think and change the metered lots. Participants spoke about how they can adapt hundreds of such parking lots in several countries and some came forward with ideas of how they can be converted to temporary health clinics for the aged.