Indiana County Has More People Than Cars

Suburban sprawls love affair with the automobile is getting out of hand. In the primarily suburban county of Tippecanoe, parking spots are outnumbering automobile's 3 to 1.

"Sprawling suburban parking spaces outnumber drivers by three to one in a Midwestern county, a finding that typifies a troubling trend nationwide that increases urban heating and pollution, researchers say."

Development codes around the country have long been exposed to requiring too many parking spots and this ratio can probably be found in many of our primarily suburban counties across the U.S.

"The problem with parking lots is that they accumulate a lot of pollutants-oil, grease, heavy metals and sediment-that cannot be absorbed by the impervious surface," said study member Bernard Engel. "Rain then flushes these contaminants into rivers and lakes."

"Because parking lots also prevent the rain from soaking into the ground, they can worsen local flooding and erosion, Pijanowski said.

The paved surfaces also add to the urban heat island effect, which can raise temperatures by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius by absorbing more of the sun's rays than the surrounding ground, said Indiana state climatologist Dev Niyogi, a colleague of Pijanowski at Purdue who did not work directly on this study. "

Thanks to Jay Estes

Full Story: Parking Lots Outnumber People, Add to Pollution

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