Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yeah, what he said!

My Dad went to Purdue and I still have family in Indiana, so the headline to this story caught my eye. Glad I read it - fascinating stuff and begs for a similar survey to be done in every municipality. Then for action to be taken. At left here is a parking lot spanning two city blocks turned rain garden in downtown DC where the old DC Convention Center once stood (9th and H Streets, NW). That new lot is a great example of how to do a large parking lot and integrate green elements should you have to have one. Here are some relevant quotes from the article on parking space and responsible land use:

"Purdue University researchers surveyed the total area devoted to parking in a midsize Midwestern county and found that parking spaces outnumbered resident drivers 3-to-1 and outnumbered resident families 11-to-1. The researchers found the total parking area to be larger than 1,000 football fields, or covering more than two square miles."

Not only that, but the study conducted by researchers at Purdue University in Indiana, also found that car parks are bad for the environment, as they tend to increase water pollution and raise urban temperatures.

The Purdue researchers counted driveways and parking spaces in the sprawling car parks that are built near large shopping complexes for their study, which focused on a midsize county in the Midwest.

They found that there were three times more parking spaces than drivers, and 11 parking spaces for every family that lives in the county.

"Even I was surprised by these numbers," Bryan Pijanowski, the associate professor of forestry and natural resources who led the study, said in a statement. "Do we need this much parking space?"

Pijanowski said the findings "typify a troubling trend: Americans are paving an increasing percentage of land each year for their cars and trucks."

Farmers could produce 250,000 bushels of corn in the same space taken up by the parking lots, he said.

Full story here at PlanetZen and here at Yahoo News. The most troubling part of the story is when you view the Yahoo News version it is completely surrounded by moving, in-your-face SUV ads.


Carol said...

I went to Purdue, too!

I wonder if the "midwestern county" was Tippecanoe county, where Purdue is? Would having a large college campus in the middle of the county skew the results.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

WashingtonGardener said...

Carol - that might have an effect or might just be typical as most urban/surburban areas have at least one community college in it. In my own county of current residence (Montgomery County, MD) the latest stats show that we have 2-3 cars per resident! Don't know how many parking spaces we have, but next time I meet up with any of the local county council members I'm going to make it a point to ask that those numbers be collected too.