PRN’s Expanded Parking Lot Map
At the heart of every great urban landscape lies a delicate balance between the space reserved for cars and the space dedicated for people. One valuable resource for understanding this balance is our Parking Lot Map tool. It features a database of interactive city maps showing the percentage of a city’s central area dedicated to parking. As cities grapple with issues of housing, green spaces, and sustainable development, the Parking Lot Map tells an important story about the spatial priorities in our cities. It also showcases many untapped opportunities for good urbanism.
Recently, with the help of dedicated PRN volunteer members led by Thomas Carpenito, our map was expanded with 40 new cities. Below are three cities that were recently added. You can learn about what their current parking status is and how each city aims to tackle parking reform going forward.
Buffalo, New York, is a welcome addition to the Parking Lot Map. As New York’s second biggest city, it was the first U.S. city to remove minimum parking requirements all the way back in 2017! Buffalo’s decision to eliminate minimum parking requirements was part of a broader effort to overhaul its zoning and development regulations, known as the “Green Code.” This new development framework emphasized sustainability, walkability, and adaptive reuse, revealing the importance of general plans in being effective policy tools to successfully implement parking reform. Since then, the city has increased density and built much more housing, the majority of which would have been considered illegal pre-2017.
Buffalo, New York
Percentage of central area dedicated to parking: 29%
Parking Score: 62
Venturing to the West Coast, we reach San Bernardino, California. Situated east of Los Angeles and within the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, this heat island leaves much to be desired for urbanists. The city dedicates a colossal 49% of its central area to parking, taking the cake as the most car-storage-friendly city in the country. Critiques aside, there are glimmers of hope for San Bernardino’s future. Carousel Mall, a product of mid-century urban renewal that has been shuttered since 2017, is currently being demolished to make way for new mixed-use development. With a hint of irony, the city hopes to rebuild its downtown from the ashes of the structure that, for 50 years, stood in its way.
San Bernardino, California
Percentage of central area dedicated to parking: 49%
Parking Score: 100
Heading cross-country to the East Coast, Richmond, Virginia, makes its anticipated debut on the Parking Lot Map. Four-fifths of the downtown’s urban fabric has remained intact over the past 70 years, with 21% of land being used for parking. While certainly a high number, it is lower than the national average of 22%. The city’s leadership appear committed to creating a thriving urban environment, voting to remove all parking minimums citywide back in April. Mayor Levar Stoney supported removing parking minimums mainly to address the housing crisis, saying at a press conference before the vote, “This will encourage more housing types throughout the city, greater density along primary transit corridors and intentional connectivity of such areas.” While Richmond faces other issues, like appropriately priced on-street parking, its move to abolish parking mandates is an excellent step in the right direction.
Percentage of central area dedicated to parking: 21%
Parking Score: 37
2023 has been a strong year for parking reform. Cities nationwide are implementing policy changes, and it seems the general public might be starting to notice the effects of car-oriented development and the possibility of human-oriented alternatives. Local news stations are even allocating segments of their shows to highlight PRN and the Parking Lot Map – Columbus, Nashville, and Richmond, to name a few. This collective effort signifies a significant step in the right direction for parking reform’s momentum and the quest for a more sustainable and human-focused future.