There are 2 billion parking spots in the U.S. for about 200 million cars. The area of parking per car in the United States is thus larger than the area of housing per human.

Cars Make Your Life More Expensive, Even If You Don’t Have One

In Gastown, one of Vancouver’s priciest and most popular downtown neighbourhoods, there’s a seven-storey parking garage that Janice Abbott said sits two-thirds empty on weekday afternoons.

For nearly four years, Abbott, the CEO of Atira Women’s Resource Society, has lobbied to turn the garage into affordable housing for vulnerable women and children. But the city has steadfastly said no.

“They are making parking a priority over housing,” said Abbott.

Her battle is an example of how North American cities are designed for cars and how many of the laws and policies are auto-centric. Even if you don’t own a car and never drive, you’re paying for other people’s cars—in rent as well as in health, social, and environmental costs.

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14 thoughts on “There are 2 billion parking spots in the U.S. for about 200 million cars. The area of parking per car in the United States is thus larger than the area of housing per human.”

  1. wackk

    I tried to find the basis of this claim and the rabbit hole ended one link away with “it’s estimated that….”
    anyone know who estimated it and where that comes from?

  2. jeffinRTP

    There’s not a week that goes by where someone is not complaining about lack of parking.

    Another issue is that public transportation is not always convenient or possible. I went into the city for a hike and the drive would have been 48 minutes, there are 4 bus routes across the street and to go by bus and subway would have been either 118 or 138 minutes. Cycling would be 216 minutes and walking 536 minutes.

    The place I’m going today will take 146 minutes including 2 buses and 77 minutes of walking to get to the location. Or a 20 minute drive.

  3. Sagybagy

    And only 3 of those parking spaces are in New York. The rest are in a field outside Dallas Texas at Jerry’s world.

  4. AbrahamLemon

    So every person has, on average, ten parking spaces. Seems like both too much and not enough.

  5. InappropriateTA

    Is comparing it to housing per human really relevant?

    You typically live in once place. You don’t typically only park in one place. I need a parking space at home, at my office, and at the mall. I don’t need housing space in all those places.

  6. boomboomroom

    True for toilets too, probably. We plan and build for the high-water mark.

  7. o_O-JBL

    It makes sense the amount of parking spots isn’t proportional to the amount of cars.

    Parking is on demand. Certain times certain areas need more parking, like a business park, industrial zone or school. Once people are done working they need to park at home, or at the store.

    This is just common sense. It’s not as if we just have a massive surplus of unused parking like many here seem to think.

  8. jonah214

    That “therefore” is nonsense. They might both be true, but “therefore” means that the former statement implies the latter conclusion; in fact, they are independent statements.

  9. Intrepid_Upstairs553

    And yet I can never find a close parking spot at Walmart…

  10. alleghenysinger

    Parking isn’t where it needs to be, at least not in D.C. After September 11th, parking went from iffy to nearly impossible.

  11. Sinborn

    Self driving cars can solve this. My car could drive me to work then drive back home and park there instead of parking downtown.

  12. BannedRemovedDeleted

    Meanwhile in Canada there are only 10 million parking spots for 20 million cars…

  13. Piemaster113

    Just broad strokes not getting into specifics, each person needs 1 space for Work, 1 space for groceries, 1 pre restaurant for each meal of the day, 1 for entertainment of some kind and 1 for home. Again very broad Strokes that comes up to about 7 spaces per person, sprinkle in some other things like gyms banks and churches, it adds up quick, since parking spaces aren’t a 1 time use thing its really not that unreasonable to imagine there’s a vastly larger number of parking spaces vs cars.

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