Wednesday, October 3

They paved paradise ...

The last post dealt with some of the costs associated with automobiles while they are in use, but a new Purdue study investigates the impacts of cars and trucks while they are not in use. Namely, parking spaces.

Bryan Pijanowski, an associate professor of forestry and natural resources at Purdue university, found that parking spaces outnumber resident drivers 3-to-1 in an average sized midwestern county (11-t0-1 for every family). And this estimate does not even include private residential parking or multiple levels of parking garages. That's right. If you and your family live in Tippecanoe county, or probably anywhere else in the United States for that matter, you have about 1600 square feet of pavement somewhere with your name on it.

Other than the obvious fact that any land used as a parking space is not being used as anything else, there are several deleterious effects of this system. Parking lots are a major source of water pollution, and they also contribute to the artificial heating of cities.

The good professor then gives a subtle plug for the walkable urban environment,

"In many areas of the world, particularly Europe, cities were planned prior to automobiles, and many locations are typically within walking distance. This is just one different way to plan that has certain advantages."

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