America Probably Has Enough Parking Spaces for Multiple Black Fridays - City Lab

November 27, 2018

 

Is post-Thanksgiving shopping mayhem a fading American holiday tradition? This year, even as overall spending increased between Thanksgiving and Black Friday, foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores reportedly fell by as much as 9 percent compared to 2017. That’s consistent with consumer trends since 2014, thanks to retailers widening the window for holiday bargains and more shopping migrating online.

 

A downturn in traffic appears to be accompanied by fewer of the fistfights, stampedes, and storefront brawls for which Black Friday is justly famous. Parking lot accidents tend to spike the day after Thanksgiving, USA Today reported in 2017, as do claims of thefts from homes and vehicles—presumably, fewer shoppers butting heads and bumpers would mean less of those, too.

 

A less-anarchic shopping experience is probably something we can all be thankful for. But the ebbing chaos outside America’s big-box stores and shopping centers has revealed the true dimensions of another apple-pie-American sort of appetite: the physical footprint of retail itself, and specifically, the parking.

 

The United States has as many as two billion parking spots for about 250 million cars, a ratio that many planners and economists describe as overbuilt. “The area of parking per car in the United States is thus larger than the area of housing per human,” writes Donald Shoup, the UCLA transportation scholar and founding father of parking economics, in the introduction to his most recent tome, Parking and the City. He estimates that 14 percent of incorporated land in Los Angeles County is devoted to parking, as is nearly 5 percent of urban area in the Upper Great Lakes region, the book states. The total area of paved lots in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin is roughly equivalent to half the area of Rhode Island.

 

Click here to read the full article: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/11/parking-lots-near-me-shopping-plazas-vacant-spaces/576646/

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