'Tis the Season for Abundant Parking

On what is arguably a peak parking day, parking lots around the country still had plenty of space.

1 minute read

December 5, 2018, 5:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink


Mall Parking Lot

Andre Manoel / Flickr

Laura Bliss reports that the overabundance of parking in the United States is never more apparent than on Black Friday, when consumers in theory are out in full force with the parking lots to accommodate them. But parking minimums have resulted in a sea of parking around retail establishments, and much of it sits empty, says Bliss:

As Strong Towns noted, a lot of those lots weren’t filled on Friday, either. The urban planning blog is in its sixth year of #BlackFridayParking, a photo contest that calls attention to the surfeit of vacant spots, mostly in smaller cities and suburban communities, on the big shopping day. Caveat: Plenty of urban parking lots around the U.S. were packed. But as the hashtag makes clear, many more were half-empty.

As online shopping continues to grow, the vision of a Black Friday onslaught and the cars it brings becomes less of a reality.

Donald Shoup has written extensively about parking minimums and the additional costs that are bundled into housing and goods. "For communities, big-box-style retail has never been much of a bargain—and now, for so many reasons, it’s even less of one," concludes Bliss.

There's also this key statistic, wrapping the whole situation up in a Christmas bow: "The United States has as many as two billion parking spots for about 250 million cars," writes Bliss. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018 in CityLab

Aerial view of homes on green hillsides in Daly City, California.

Depopulation Patterns Get Weird

A recent ranking of “declining” cities heavily features some of the most expensive cities in the country — including New York City and a half-dozen in the San Francisco Bay Area.

April 10, 2024 - California Planning & Development Report

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

A view straight down LaSalle Street, lined by high-rise buildings with an El line running horizontally over the street.

Chicago to Turn High-Rise Offices into Housing

Four commercial buildings in the Chicago Loop have been approved for redevelopment into housing in a bid to revitalize the city’s downtown post-pandemic.

April 10, 2024 - Chicago Construction News

Woman with long hair wearing Covid mask sitting on underground train station bench looking at her watch as subway train approaches in background at Hollywood/Western station in Los Angeles, California.

How California Transit Agencies are Addressing Rider Harassment

Safety and harassment are commonly cited reasons passengers, particularly women and girls, avoid public transit.

April 17 - The American Prospect

Nighttime view of wildfire in Los Angeles hills.

Significant Investments Needed to Protect LA County Residents From Climate Hazards

A new study estimates that LA County must invest billions of dollars before 2040 to protect residents from extreme heat, increasing precipitation, worsening wildfires, rising sea levels, and climate-induced public health threats.

April 17 - Los Angeles Times

Bird's eye view of oil field in New Mexico desert.

Federal Rule Raises Cost for Oil and Gas Extraction on Public Lands

An update to federal regulations raises minimum bonding to limit orphaned wells and ensure cleanup costs are covered — but it still may not be enough to mitigate the damages caused by oil and gas drilling.

April 17 - High Country News

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.