Researchers count lots of parking lots

Sep 11, 2007

U.S. drivers like lots of parking lots, according to a study that shows in some Indiana areas parking spaces outnumber resident drivers 3-to-1.

Purdue University researchers surveyed the total area devoted to parking in a midsize Midwestern county and found parking spaces outnumbered resident families 11-to-1. The researchers determined the county's total parking area to be larger than 1,000 football fields, covering more than two square miles.

"Even I was surprised by these numbers," said Associate Professor Bryan Pijanowski, who led the study in Purdue's home county of Tippecanoe. "I can't help but wonder: Do we need this much parking space?"

Pijanowski said the study's findings are cause for concern, in part, because parking lots present environmental problems such as sources of water pollution, as well as economic concerns.

Pijanowski counted 355,000 parking spaces in Tippecanoe County, which is home to about 155,000 residents. He noted farmers could produce 250,000 bushels of corn in the same space taken up by parking lots.

The research was presented in May in the Netherlands during a conference of land-use experts.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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