Sunday, January 08, 2012

Pondering the Parking Lot

When you enter a busy parking lot, take the first available spot you see rather than searching for something closer. According to this story by Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times “the journal Transportation Science has shown that drivers who parked at the first available spot and then walked to their destination on average saved considerable time (never mind savings in gasoline and anxiety) over those who cruised around until a “better” spot opened.”

Kimmelmans article was all about parking and parking, has been on my mind lately. For instance, more than a few people have asked me why Wegmans covered up the front of their brand new building with a two level parking deck.

I don’t know.

I do know that parking lots, particularly parking lots in edge city communities like ours, represent some of the best development opportunities over the next twenty years. Take the Sears parking lot for example.

Thankfully, I think HoCo, and Ellicott City in paricular, will largely avoid things like the Pensacola Parking Syndrome, “used to describe a city that tears down its old buildings to create parking spaces to entice more people downtown, until people no longer want to go there because it has become an empty lot.”

“Cities should let the free market handle the construction of new parking spaces. People who buy or rent new homes can pay extra if they want someplace to park a car. Municipalities can instead cap the maximum number of lots or the ratio of spaces to dwellings and offices.”

I could get on board with that notion.

Oh yeah, if you are wondering about the picture, it was taken today at the Columbia Palace Shopping Center near the Dunkin Donuts. Apparently a car jumped the curb in the parking lot and ran into the railing. It’s a very tenuous connection to the subject of this post but I liked the picture so there it is.

It’s dangerous out there. Be careful.
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