The Importance of Parking Lots, and Why Parking is Already So Much More - Essay Example

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The Importance of Parking Lots, and Why Parking is Already So Much More In his opinion piece for The New York Times, Eran Ben-Joseph (Ben-Joseph 2012) argues that parking lots need to be reexamined. He suggests that they are ugly, there are many more than are needed and that they have a significant detrimental effect on the environment…
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The Importance of Parking Lots, and Why Parking is Already So Much More
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Download file to see previous pages They take up a significant amount of space and a prevalent wherever a person travels, at least in developed countries. However, in his argument, Ben-Joseph does not take into account the necessity of parking spaces, or the cost of the changes that he argues for. Before a suggestion like his is implemented, our society needs to become less dependent on cars and learn to use the parking spaces that we do have more efficiently. It is true that there are more parking spaces than cars, and Ben-Joseph’s figure of three times as many is probably very accurate. However, does this actually suggest that there are too many? The difficulty that is associated with finding parking at a popular venue suggests otherwise. For example, a parking space study in Bristol, Virginia found that the city needed more parking spaces in its downtown area. Furthermore, the study recommended that a parking building be created that had up to 240 spaces (McGee 2012). The stress and difficulty in finding a parking space in some cities is so bad that smartphone applications have been developed to help motorists find a space effectively (Gonzales 2011). These two examples suggest that the current number of parking spaces that are available is not enough in some places, rather than there being an excessive amount, as Ben-Joseph suggests. Another aspect of parking that Ben-Joseph does not take into account is the difference between parking spaces and parking lots. He suggests that there are approximately 800 million parking spaces in the United States, and extrapolates this to mean that parking spaces cover 4,360 square miles. This is not completely true. One only has to look at city streets to see that a large number of parking spaces are not part of parking lots, but are on the side of the road. Often, these are the most important parking spaces to people trying to get somewhere specific. While these spaces do take up the same amount of physical area as a parking space within a lot, removing these would not result in more available space. The impression that Ben-Joseph gives of parking lots sprawling across the country, blotting the landscape and taking up substantial amounts of space may be true. However, the level at which this occurs is not as dire as he suggests. As a potential solution to the ‘problem’ of parking lots, Ben-Joseph argues that parking lots themselves need to be transformed. He considers that there needs to be a greater focus on appearance, public uses and the environment. However, there are two problems with this proposed solution. The first is the associated cost. The way that parking lots are created is largely due to the relatively low cost. In terms of both time and money, it is much cheaper to create a flat, paved lot with the required lines, markers and other components, than it would be to create one that is more aesthetically pleasing. Even the simplest approach of landscaping the area would cost. The second problem is that revamping car lots in this way would also decrease the number of parking spaces that they provide. This is a significant problem, as parking spaces are an important component of our society, and many people rely on them in order to store their car while they work. An alternative solution to the perspective that Ben-Joseph proposes a two-pronged approach, where the use of parking spaces is optimized and transportation via cars is decreased. The smartphone application for determining ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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