Why Parking is Worse than You Imagined

December 18, 2021

Daniel Moser on Twitter:

Above, area in LA dedicated to parking.

Below, parking areas mapped in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Firstly, parking requirements are random. They are neither based in research, nor data. Parking minimums are random government mandates to allocate a proportion of space on privately owned land for cars – no matter if necessary or not.

The building 🏢 below ? All lower floors are parking. 

Why? Because. 

Cities don’t survey existing parking to see if their requirements are rational, and they often are not.

Parking minimums are based on assumptions that people drive their car everywhere. Not true. Large part of societies are neither capable to drive, nor able to afford driving. In many parts of the world more than 50% of people do not choose cars when they do have the alternative.

Parking minimums have tremendous negative impacts on

➡️ Climate change
➡️ Streetlife
➡️ Quality of life
➡️ Opportunities
➡️ Affordability

Parking takes enormous energy to construct. Produce and pour cement, and then build a structure on top of that. Especially cement produces carbon emissions in mass quantities.

Parking incentivizes more car driving. Cars are the most inefficient mode of transport and produce more carbon emissions than any other. More driving leads to the construction of more roads, automobile oriented planning and the marginalisation of other modes of transport. 👇👇

Parking minimums lead to buildings like the one left. With housing placed up in the air and removed from street life. Joyful and liveable neighbourhoods are now illegal – also because of parking requirements.

Because parking and driving takes up so much space – car oriented cities grow outwards and not upwards. This leads to increased distances, less population density and less opportunities in the vicinity. Small businesses struggle to survive.

New businesses, amenities or housing are outlawed or stay vacant because parking requirements cannot be met.

The construction of parking is the most expensive part of vehicular ownership. Parking space costs more to construct, rent and buy than many cars cost to lease/own.

1 parking spot included with an apartment typically accounts for ~10% of the monthly rental price.

Parking requirements dictate how much housing can be build. Higher parking requirements therefore limit housing and elevate the housing crisis, making housing less affordable.

Ask your government to abolish parking minimums and You will save the climate, increase quality of life, create thriving businesses and a more affordable city.👇

Before Vs. After in Amsterdam 🇳🇱

Daniel Ernesto Moser, guest lecturer at Technische Universität Berlin, is the Management Head of the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI).

5 Responses to “Why Parking is Worse than You Imagined”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Hey, don’t knock multi-story parking garages: They’re where you park your vehicles when the next hurricane or flood event is about to hit. (Mom’s car survived Katrina at the New Orleans airport parking garage.)

    But seriously, just as it’s no virtue for me to embrace the mantle of YIMBYism (my home value isn’t my greatest financial asset), I don’t feel right lobbying for less parking. My house has a garage, three places I shop have curbside pickup (very quick turnaround means efficient use of parking lot space), and other places (hardware store, pharmacies, bank) tend to have high throughput because most people are in and out in less than 20 minutes.

    In any case, Austin has been doing a lot of work to make the city more walkable and cyclable, and adding priority bus lanes.

  2. heijdensejan Says:

    Of topic, for a nice perspective on cityplanning and the effect of wrong city planning follow the youtube channel notjustbikes.

    On Topic, being Dutch with an above average number of bicycles and a car within the city use one of my bikes or public transport, bicycle infrastructure (including parking proper bicycle lanes, e-bike charging are important, because without people will not start biking.

  3. J4Zonian Says:

    So…by far the best replacement for ICEVs is not EVs but clean safe renewably electrified transit, including intercity high speed rail people can quickly take transit to and from instead of having a car to drive way in hell out to the airport (which won’t have planes, anyway) where people leave their cars in Long-Term Parking for much money. Thus paying for 2 or 3 parking spaces at once in many cases.

    David Roberts did a series of articles on Barthelona when he was at (in? for? of?) Vox.
    https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/4/8/18273893/barcelona-spain-urban-planning-cars

    Or choose the podcast
    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/barcelonas-superblocks-with-david-roberts-of-vox/id1437755068?i=1000447232926

    But … damn!
    I guess the Spanish have more sense than USers, being willing to pay for adaptive infrastructure and help people rather than capital. (They’re also at 43% RE electricity (Iberian grid 47%) while the US is less than half that). And Spain and Portugal are just starting to move on solar, which will be their strength AND allow them to integrate more on- and offshore wind power.

  4. Anthony William O'brien Says:

    I would rather be a motorist in Amsterdam than in any city of equivalent size in the US. What many US motorists fail to realise is that if you make it better for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport passengers you make it better for motorists.

    Yes you have to go the long way around in a car in Amsterdam, but that is still much quicker than the direct rout in Houston.

    There is an informative YouTube channel not just bikes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxykI30fS54&list=RDCMUC0intLFzLaudFG-xAvUEO-A&start_radio=1

    It can be changed, start with the road design rules and new development rules. So as infrastructure is built or replaced the new is more people friendly. Can’t see your city doing the full Amsterdam changes, then look at Paris or Copenhagen.

    Walkable suburbs are much more valuable real estate. It is a worthwhile, value producing, exercise. The social costs of car dependency are huge. The Financial costs of car dependency is immense and sending cities broke.


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