Free Parking

There’s an article in Salon today (sub or click through advert, sorry) that really surprised me. I’d always assumed that American car parks were so big because Americans drove everywhere. It turns out that the causation may in part be the other way round: lots of planning regulations require developers to provide large numbers of on-site parking spaces – up to twice as many as would be required on a normal day. Thus, an academic study of Tippecanoe Co., Indiana, revealed that the county (pop. 155,000) has more than a quarter of million excess parking spaces: in other words if every car registered in the county was parked in a car park rather than at home, there would still be parking spaces for 250,000 other cars.

This is so far from the British approach (which is getting tighter and tighter on car parking provision in new developments) it makes my head spin.