There are over 800 million parking spaces in America, more than 3.5 spaces per car. Many of them are there because planning laws demand so many spaces per square foot of retail or restaurant or office space, often many more spaces than are actually needed. Over at Strong Towns, Charles Marohn and the gang are trying to change the way we think about parking. They want to draw "attention to the harmful nature of minimum parking requirements which create a barrier for new local businesses and fill up our cities with empty parking spaces that don’t add value to our places."
They think that Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year in America, is a great time to test whether we have too much parking or too little. The plan:
On Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, people all across North America will snap photos of the (hardly full) parking lots in their communities to demonstrate how unnecessary these massive lots are. Participants upload those photos to social media with the hashtag #blackfridayparking.
- On November 27, get outside and take pictures of the parking lots in your town.
- Upload your photos to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #blackfridayparking. Bonus points if you include the location and estimate how full the lot is. (Turning on location services will also greatly aid us in mapping out these posts all over the country.)
- Visit our website on November 27 to view other peoples' photos from across the country.
Of course so much varies on where you are; in Toronto you can't find a parking space at the mall from October through to Boxing Day, our biggest shopping day of the year north of the border. I find it hard to believe that parking lots are so oversized that they are not even full on the busiest day, let alone the whole shopping season. I will certainly be following #blackfridayparking. More at Strong Towns