Putting The 'Park' Back In Parking

Park(ing) Day takes off in cities across America in an effort to raise awareness of the shortage of public parks in urban areas, and to highlight the amount of miles and gallons of gas wasted by drivers looking for parking spots.
September 21, 2007, 12pm PDT | Kevin
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"From Miami to Munich, hundreds of urban planners and environmental activists plan today to set up tiny "parks" in metered parking spaces -- installing everything from lawn chairs and palm trees to beauty salons and self-service lemonade stands."

"It's an effort to raise awareness about the lack of open public space in urban areas, and to draw attention to the gas wasted and pollution created by drivers circling the block for low-cost curbside parking spaces. Park(ing) Day organizers are bracing for angry merchants, frustrated drivers -- and in some cities, parking tickets."

"Last year, word spread, and 47 'parks' popped up in 13 cities world-wide, including London, Rio de Janeiro and Melbourne, Australia, as well as 34 in the San Francisco Bay Area. This year Park(ing) Day will test drivers' patience for the first time in cities including Boston, Washington and car-crazy Los Angeles, where valets charge heavily and spots are scarce."

"Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning who spoke at a panel discussion about Park(ing) Day earlier this week, says too many drivers are shunning higher-priced garages and burning excess fuel while circling around to find a less costly parking spot. Mr. Shoup and his students at University of California at Los Angeles determined that the average cruising time for a space in L.A.'s Westwood Village is 3.3 minutes, or half a mile. By that measure, Mr. Shoup estimates that cars in the 15-block district annually travel 950,000 miles, burn 47,000 gallons of fuel and emit 730 tons of carbon dioxide just looking for a parking spot."

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Published on Friday, September 21, 2007 in The Wall Street Journal
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