Visualizing LA’s 18.6 Million Parking Spaces as One Enormous Blob

Here's how much space it would take up if all of L.A. County's parking spaces where pushed together. Map by Shane Phillips, Better Institutions
Here’s how much space all of L.A. County’s parking spaces would take up if they were pushed together. Map: Shane Phillips/Better Institutions

Here’s a great visualization of how much land parking spaces consume in our cities, via Shane Phillips at Network blog Better Institutions.

Inspired by a post from Copenhagenize, Shane created a map showing the collective size of Los Angeles County’s 18.6 million parking spaces (as estimated by the American Planning Association) if they were arranged side by side, assuming each one is 300 square feet.

When you step back and look, he writes, it’s pretty amazing:

This imaginary parking lot, which is 16 miles in diameter, is enough to completely wipe out downtown LA, Boyle Heights, Chinatown, Koreatown, Westlake, Glassel Park, Silver Lake, and Echo Park; most of South LA; Hollywood, West Hollywood, and Beverly Hills; Mid-Wilshire; Culver City; most of the Westside; and all of USC, UCLA, and Griffith Park. Rather than getting you from Downtown to Santa Monica, the 10 would get you from one end of the parking lot to the other. On the bright side, there would be plenty of parking for the beach, LAX, and the Rose Bowl Parade — though walking from the lot might take you a few hours.

No one’s arguing that all 18.6 million parking spaces in Los Angeles are a waste; there’s an obvious need for parking, and for the automobiles that require them, in a variety of circumstances. But put together, this 200 square mile area is home to about 2.3 million people, 900,000 homes, and near one million employees. And without so much parking it could be home to many more, at a time when our region is struggling with an unprecedented housing shortage, booming population, and a strong economy.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Urbanophile talks to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown about the city’s bold new “Green Code.” BTA explains how some Oregon residents are fighting to ensure a safer Tualatin Valley Highway for people who bike. And Cyclelicious explains how biking can reduce vision problems.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Study: Loosening Parking Mandates Leads to More Affordable Housing

|
A recent study by Michael Manville at UCLA [PDF] has been making the rounds on the Streetsblog Network. Examining areas of Los Angeles where parking regulations had been loosened, Manville found that “when parking requirements are removed, developers provide more housing and less parking, and also that developers provide different types of housing: housing in […]

Study: Loosening Parking Mandates Leads to More Affordable Housing

|
A recent study by Michael Manville at UCLA [PDF] has been making the rounds on the Streetsblog Network. Examining areas of Los Angeles where parking regulations had been loosened, Manville found that “when parking requirements are removed, developers provide more housing and less parking, and also that developers provide different types of housing: housing in […]

The Big Leap from Car-Lite to Car-Free

|
While owning a car is a massive financial burden, economic incentives can still get in the way of the transition from car ownership to living car-free, even if you already don’t drive much. As Shane Phillips at Network blog Better Institutions explains today, it’s a classic problem of “sunk costs”: When someone is interested in […]

Transportation Meltdown: The Too Hot to Move Edition

|
Stay inside, friends. The heat index is a sizzling 111 degrees here in DC and I’m betting it’s not much better where you are. And heat exhaustion isn’t the only reason to crank the air conditioning or lounge in the kiddie pool. Transportation systems are also breaking down in the heat. Shane Phillips at Better […]

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 […]