There is no single, handy database that tracks the proliferation of parking spots in a city over time. A five-story parking garage goes in here, a surface lot there. A new development comes in, and zoning code mandates additional spots per housing unit or office desk (or per junkyard, pet cemetery or rifle range) [PDF].
“It’s easy to say on a project-by-project basis, ‘Oh, here a parking lot went in because of that project,'” says Chris McCahill, a doctoral candidate in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Connecticut. “Our idea was to look at the huge city-wide scale. What happens to a city when, project by project, that happens?”
To determine this, McCahill and Norman Garrick looked for the best comprehensive surveys they could find: aerial photographs of cities. Then they then set about trying to figure out where all of the parking lots are. They’ve done this in New England with New Haven, Hartford, and Cambridge, and with nearly a dozen other cities in an ongoing study.
They corralled historic aerial photos from university map libraries, and more recent images from the U.S. Geological Survey. The pictures, the earliest of which date to the 1950s, reveal a history of whole cities slowly consumed by parking lots. The photos have also enabled McCahill and Garrick to come up with some pretty precise numbers of total parking spots in each town.
Read the entire article at: The Atlantic Cities
Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet