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

A parking space to scale with apartment floor plans, via 9x19.net
A parking space to scale with apartment floor plans, via 9×18.net

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.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The Urban Destruction Caused by Parking

|
Today on the Streetsblog Network, we’re thinking about parking, thanks to a post from The Overhead Wire on the devastating effect that parking structures and highways can have on a city’s infrastructure: More! That’s the scream of merchants and others who believe that a downtown without an endless sea of parking is not worth going […]

No Parking Slope

|
The B67 bus veers around a double-parked van blocking a car parked in front of a fire hydrant as a Bugaboo-pushing nanny strolls by Councilmember David Yassky and Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely White calling for more sensible parking policy this afternoon in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Every drivers knows that it can be nearly impossible […]

How Silver Spring, Maryland, Outgrew Its Parking Lots

|
In healthy urban areas, people always complain that there’s not enough parking. And they still do that in Silver Spring, Maryland, says Dan Reed at Greater Greater Washington. But they’re wrong. The city’s downtown parking supply is only about 58 percent occupied on an average day. Even as the city has grown, more parking is sitting […]
Most of downtown Austin's off-street parking is much more expensive than  curbside parking -- a situation that needs to change, according to a new report. Image: Nelson\Nygaard for Downtown Austin Alliance

Downtown Austin’s Parking Crunch Can Be Solved Without Adding Tons of Parking

|
Cities and towns are constantly fretting about downtown parking. But what they often perceive as a "parking shortage" isn't caused by a lack of parking -- it's the result of poor management of the parking they already have. The upshot is that many cities, seeking cheap and plentiful car storage, pursue policies that make their parking and traffic problems worse, not better. Now a downtown Austin business coalition aims to chart a better course.