Jump to content

Anyone notice there's a lot of parking spaces in the USA?


LanghamP
 Share

Recommended Posts

Another thing I noticed from being on my EUC; anyone notice just how many parking spaces there are? I mean, I feel like I'm roaming through vast swathes of empty parking lots for half of my commute. Generally, I'll see an itty bitty building surrounded by an area about 4x the size of the building.

This is not something I noticed in my car; far from it as I'm always moaning the lack of parking.

This has to be the primary difference between US cities and European cities, only we couldn't quite put our finger on it (best we could say is "European cities are built closer" but why?).

The huge parking lots make the buildings further apart, and then that makes using a car required because everything is further apart.

Try this; open up Google maps, set it to Satellite view, and observe the area of buildings versus parking lots. More interestingly, observe the number of cars actually parked on those lots compared to the empty parking spaces. I'd guess the ratio is one parked car to ten empty spots.

I'm unsure where I'm going with this, or really why I'm even posting this. It is something I would not have noticed if I stayed in my car; riding an EUC has made me much more 1st person observant of how car-centric we now are.

I'd be very interested in the direct costs of making all that parking available. It is some sort of car tax hidden in the higher price of goods purchased at those businesses.

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When my parents were over from the UK for my wedding my soon to be wife took my mum out a shopping "center". It had large big name stores around the outside of a HUGE parking lot that was, as you observed, 90% empty at that time. It was September in Florida and all of the black top had been soaking heat all day long. My mum couldn't grasp the fact that you had to get in your car to drive across the lot to get to the next store you wanted to visit! She still laughs about it today. She had wanted to walk (although she would have died of heat stroke if she had tried). Also noticeable in this situation is there are few pedestrian walkways through these super lots. You have to skirt the outside or risk being mown down by cars crossing the vast open space at all angles completely oblivious to any lines painted on the ground to denote travel lanes.

I think many of these lots are sized for the one or two times a year when they might actually fill up. Think black Friday and the last weekend before Christmas. For the rest of the year they are just wastelands.

I miss living in or around Eurpoean cities where everything was concentrated in one area that cars generally didn't enter (because most of the cities existed before the car was even considered and suburbs didn't exist). The downside of this of course is that traffic to the city center could be horrendous even for smaller towns. I've seen little traffic like that since my move to the US.

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The US is very car-centric.  I think it has to do with the US entering the modern era with vast distances between population centers.  They say that In Europe 100 miles in considered far, while in the US 100 years is considered old.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, kour said:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/26/opinion/when-a-parking-lot-is-so-much-more.html?mcubz=0

it sort of implicitly acknowledges your observation, i think - so often spaces aren't being used

That's actually a very interesting read. I didn't think that a Prius has essentially the same carbon footprint as an SUV because the majority of resources to allow the car be a car comes from the parking.

It really comes down to the form factor; Teslas and SUV's both have nearly the same envirnmental impact because they demand the same infrastructure.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@WARPed1701D  i know what you mean, my wife is american and we re over there visiting quite often. I was out with my inlaws a while back and they wanted to go to a store on one side of a two lane road. I wanted to go to another which i was told was on the opposite side of the road.

"I'll just walk over" i told them - they  looked at me like i was insane, then all the car drivers in the lane going one way did the same, then i walked across the grass central reservation only to find that the middle bit was a quagmire with a thin veneer of grass on top, then all the car drivers in the other lane looked at me like id escaped from the local mental hospital (via a swamp as I was now rather muddy) as i was waiting to cross the other lane - no one bloody stopped to let me cross. Then it was a further 80 meters across a blazing hot car park to get to where i wanted to go, but it was shut. So i called my wife and asked if they'd come and pick me up. 

To go 200 yards from one store to the strip mall on the other side on foot was a Dr Livingstone style expedition. Getting from start to finish in the car involved driving along the car park to get to the exit, turning onto the road and driving a quarter mile to be able to make a U turn, a quarter mile back plus a bit to find the entrance to the car park on the other side then the "plus a bit" back again to get to the shop. Didn't take long but was half a mile + to go 200 yards as the crow flies.  

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yet government subsidies encourage more use over less use.

Consider: Teslas and other electric vehicles have massive government subsidies, and the road and parking network to support them is even more so. Yet bicycles and their ilk are sold at cost + profit despite having far less cost (cars prices are cost + profit - subsidies).

Wouldn't it be more logical for the government to simply buy bicycles and wheels, then give them away to people? The cost could be born by simply not using taxes to build roads and parking lots for cars everywhere. Even the simple act of standing on an EUC or pedaling on a bicycle would save millions of dollars each year in health costs (we Americans are all like those people in the movie Wall-ee).

Hey, I'm all for freedom and other illusionary crap the proles believe in, but I also believe the true cost of using something should be as visible as possible. You have a car, you should get a little tax bill showing how much you really cost society.

Like when you buy gas you should also say how many lives of GI's were killed in the Middle East getting you the oil. Maybe put their names and pics on the printout. Hey, that's the true cost...

  • Upvote 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Australia building EV friendly green highway along the coast of the Great Barrier Reef, will emit at least 11 million tons of carbon.

http://m.ndtv.com/world-news/australia-to-build-superhighway-for-electric-vehicles-beside-great-barrier-reef-1729896

That's just building the road, never mind the parking and other buildings.

Is this a good way of promoting electric vehicles?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/26/2017 at 4:04 PM, Michael Vu said:

Here's a very good video on the horrible parking situation we have here in America.

http://freakonomics.com/podcast/parking-is-hell-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

 

Anyways ultimate solution to our parking problem is have strategically placed parking garages replace all of the wasted surface lots. Storing cars vertically frees up actually land that can be used much better. On top of this, charge more for on street parking as mentioned by the professor in the video. You can see how much of a difference this makes by looking at how bad this shopping center is in San Antonio compared to this shopping center in Austin.

I don't have a parking problem.

That went away when I sold my car ten years ago. 30 years ago, I had five cars.  And anxiety.

City living eliminates cars today and in the future, for those that want it.

EUC and electric transporters and public transportation are my answer to getting around.

We seem to be early adopters and bicycles seem to be the preferred alternate to cars. 

I thought the same and embraced electric scooters.  No longer.  I like the sense of riding upright, on safe sidewalks, and hands free.

Now, if I could get 100 mile range on a single charge then I'm golden.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Article talks about flooding being a man-made <inadvertent> construct caused by, well, too much concrete and not enough places to put the water.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/08/why-cities-flood/538251/

People do need homes, stores, places to work and all that jazz.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, LanghamP said:

People do need homes, stores, places to work and all that jazz.

Yes, and there are ways to do that without just paving over large tracts. Something like permeable pavers allow the water to soak into the ground rather than quickly run off to streams/rivers and contribute to flash flooding. Instead of routing water directly to storm sewers it can be sent to dry wells and only pushed to storm drains when that overflows. Areas inside cloverleafs for example can become holding basins for water and act as wetlands for water fowl. There are a lot of ways to mitigate this, it's just that they have SOME upfront costs which people don't like, but of course then we deal with these massive costs of flooding as a result.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/26/2017 at 5:04 PM, Michael Vu said:

On top of this, charge more for on street parking as mentioned by the professor in the video. You can see how much of a difference this makes by looking at how bad this shopping center is in San Antonio compared to this shopping center in Austin.

but it's so much fun to ride through that huge, desolate space! seriously, though, the difference is striking

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, dmethvin said:

Yes, and there are ways to do that without just paving over large tracts. Something like permeable pavers allow the water to soak into the ground rather than quickly run off to streams/rivers and contribute to flash flooding. Instead of routing water directly to storm sewers it can be sent to dry wells and only pushed to storm drains when that overflows. Areas inside cloverleafs for example can become holding basins for water and act as wetlands for water fowl. There are a lot of ways to mitigate this, it's just that they have SOME upfront costs which people don't like, but of course then we deal with these massive costs of flooding as a result.

It's paved and done.

Areas will continue to pave for cars.

It's big business and will continue in my lifetime.

Cities will slowly phase in alternate transport.  Bicycles? AV? EMV?

Slow adoption in the US.  Great adoption in Northern Europe.

I'll glide with MiniPros and EUC in the near term.

No floodings in Chicago.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 21/07/2017 at 4:01 PM, LanghamP said:

"European cities are built closer" but why?

Cities are invariably built around wells or along rivers. Walking with water over large distances is an unattractive proposition. The reason most city plans have been untouched since inception is that horse drawn carts have the same width as cars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Tech Nossomy said:

Cities are invariably built around wells or along rivers. Walking with water over large distances is an unattractive proposition. The reason most city plans have been untouched since inception is that horse drawn carts have the same width as cars.

Changing and converting city lanes to share different devices has helped traffic flow.

I think the advent of autonomous vehicles is over hyped and impractical within the next 50 years.

Too much would have to change, including human behaviors.

Gliders (EUC, EMV, and bicycles) have a strong future because sidewalks exist, or rodeways are shareable or devices are adapting to rough terrain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Rocky Romero said:

I think the advent of autonomous vehicles is over hyped and impractical within the next 50 years

As with anything, it's the transition period that's the hardest. For example, as long as manned and unmanned vehicles are on the road the odds are that the unmanned ones would be at a great disadvantage because they will act conservatively and predictably whereas the manned ones can act aggressively knowing that the bot-cars will give way.

Moving to autonomous vehicles is definitely just a case of trying to make the best of really bad (sub)urban infrastructure. It's not practical to go back and redesign Los Angeles so we will instead try to get people to give up their own personal cars and use a bank of shared autonomous cars. The number of bot-cars needed is much smaller because 90 percent of the time a personal car is parked, either at home, at work, or at a shopping mall. If most bot-cars are moving at any given time you don't need big parking lots and can reuse that space for something else. If you do that well you can create new "towns" that have shopping, living space, and work all within walking or EUC distance and you no longer need bot-cars much of the time.

A transformation like that is going to take 100 years or more, but I could see it happening.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, dmethvin said:

As with anything, it's the transition period that's the hardest. For example, as long as manned and unmanned vehicles are on the road the odds are that the unmanned ones would be at a great disadvantage because they will act conservatively and predictably whereas the manned ones can act aggressively knowing that the bot-cars will give way.

Moving to autonomous vehicles is definitely just a case of trying to make the best of really bad (sub)urban infrastructure. It's not practical to go back and redesign Los Angeles so we will instead try to get people to give up their own personal cars and use a bank of shared autonomous cars. The number of bot-cars needed is much smaller because 90 percent of the time a personal car is parked, either at home, at work, or at a shopping mall. If most bot-cars are moving at any given time you don't need big parking lots and can reuse that space for something else. If you do that well you can create new "towns" that have shopping, living space, and work all within walking or EUC distance and you no longer need bot-cars much of the time.

A transformation like that is going to take 100 years or more, but I could see it happening.

Well said.

What are your thoughts on personal transporters or gliders going forward?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Rocky Romero said:

What are your thoughts on personal transporters or gliders going forward?

Between bicycles, two-wheel Segway-like devices, and EUCs I think most people would opt for a bicycle (maybe with electric assist) or a Segway. There's just too much of a learning curve to an EUC. If things were just closer together any of those would work fine (depending on the weather). None of them are really that good in many places in the USA right now because the infrastructure is set up for cars, and only cars. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, dmethvin said:

Between bicycles, two-wheel Segway-like devices, and EUCs I think most people would opt for a bicycle (maybe with electric assist) or a Segway. There's just too much of a learning curve to an EUC. If things were just closer together any of those would work fine (depending on the weather). None of them are really that good in many places in the USA right now because the infrastructure is set up for cars, and only cars. 

 

 

You are correct in your observation.

I rode my Segway MiniPro on the bike lane on the streets of downtown Chicago today.  I thought I could travel faster than the sidewalks because of the rush hour.

While the streets are smooth, there are manhole covers with dips that made it an obstacle course. The added factor of rushing bikes made this undoable. I promptly got back on the safety of the sidewalks.

Riding my bike or electric scooter would have been easy.  I have forgotten how unforgiving the streets can be.

I prefer being the king of the sidewalks, even when people are unpredictable.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...