Parking Lot Design That Is Kind To Pedestrians

All too often parking is treated as a leftover -- essential, but not worthy of good design. A little thought can make a huge difference, writes columnist Whitney Gould.
August 11, 2004, 7am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"Developers and building owners treat these spaces as leftovers: essential to have but not worth investing any money to design. Architecture schools don't spend much time on the subject. And the rest of us, who just want a place to park, take what we can get, preferably close to our destination. The results, like the lot at the county-owned marina, are basically paved deserts... Why care? Because a bad parking lot can blight an entire neighborhood, wasting valuable real estate and creating a sense of placelessness. These vast asphalt surfaces also add to the urban heat island effect, raising surrounding air temperatures. They speed the flow of polluted runoff into waterways..."

"Yes, such garages are expensive. But a discussion about costs might force us as a community to make some hard choices about how much parking is really necessary, as opposed to sharing space or improving mass transit. And remember the long-term environmental and aesthetic costs of paving over key chunks of the urban landscape."

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Sunday, August 8, 2004 in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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