Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

What Else Could You Fit Downtown Instead of 93,000 Parking Spaces?

11:11 AM EDT on March 12, 2015

A parking space to scale with apartment floor plans, via 9x19.net
A parking space to scale with apartment floor plans, via 9x18.net
false

In most American cities, parking lots are so ubiquitous and unremarkable, they mostly escape notice. But for Darin Givens, who lives in downtown Atlanta and writes at Network blog ATL Urbanist, they serve as a constant, inescapable presence.

He's been thinking about what all that space could do besides store cars. So he did the math. It's actually pretty incredible:

According to a parking assessment released last year from Central Atlanta Progress, there are over 93,000 parking spaces in Downtown Atlanta. I wondered what else might fit in the area taken up by those spaces, and it just so happens that a couple of recent graphics make it clear [This one from the Institute for Development Policy and the one pictured above].

Using these figures, here’s a list I’ve made of things that could fit inside 93,000 parking spaces:

  • 15,000 2-bedroom apartments, or…
  • 23,250 1-bedroom apartments, or…
  • 46,500 micro apartments, or…
  • 930,000 bicycle parking spaces, or…
  • 279,000 3-office cubicles

This is just an exercise in math and space. I don’t expect any huge level of reuse to happen with Downtown Atlanta’s parking any time soon, and of course some level of parking is always necessary.

But I do believe, just by eyeballing the deadness of the blocks filled with parking and from the way those decks and lots sit mostly empty for many hours of the day, that some level of reuse is warranted. It would certainly liven things up to have these spaces activated with human pursuits rather than empty cars (when they even have that).

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Bike League has a Storify recap of its National Forum on Women & Bicycling. And Streets.mn discusses what factors prevent small urban spaces from being redeveloped.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Tuesday’s Headlines Look for a Home

The federal government could help families save money by providing more funding for housing near transit.

March 5, 2024

All The Ways That Car Domination Harms Our Communities (Well, Almost All…)

A new study seeks to quantify everything car culture costs us. Yet there are still more ways that auto-centrism hurts us all.

March 5, 2024

California Launches New Transportation Equity Tool

The Transportation Equity Index maps out crash rates and creates a new way to map out multimodal access.

March 4, 2024

Understanding Car Culture ‘Denialism’ Can Help Safety Advocates Respond

Opponents of change sow confusion with fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations (moving goalposts), conspiracy theories, and selectivity (cherry picking). We can fight back.

March 4, 2024

PROWAG Can Make Cities More Accessible — So Here’s What You Need to Know

America has waited more than 12 years for the Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines to be implemented. Here's why they matter.

March 4, 2024
See all posts