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

9:05 AM PST on January 5, 2016

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.

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