Recent research finds that parking spaces outnumber drivers 3-to-1 in Tippecanoe County, Indiana.
"Purdue University researchers surveyed the total area devoted to parking in a midsize Midwestern county and found that parking spaces outnumbered resident drivers 3-to-1 and outnumbered resident families 11-to-1. The researchers found the total parking area to be larger than 1,000 football fields, or covering more than two square miles."
"Tippecanoe County parking lots turn out about 1,000 pounds of heavy metal runoff annually, said Purdue professor Bernard Engel, who used a computer model to estimate changes in water-borne runoff caused by land-use changes. Engel, head of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, said lots are troublesome because pollutants collect on their non-absorbent surfaces and are then easily carried away by rain."
"Bryan Pijanowski, the associate professor of forestry and natural resources who led the study, said his study has relevance outside of Tippecanoe County because his findings typify a troubling trend he's observed and studied: Generally, Americans pave an increasing percentage of land each year for their cars and trucks."
"While parking spaces are necessary, Pijanowski said that businesses could be more creative about utilizing combined-use or shared parking lots, thereby saving construction and property costs while minimizing land use. This approach might benefit large churches and 'big-box' retailers, which often feature parking lots that take up more than twice the area of their buildings, he said."