How much parking in LA? Try 18M spaces, or 3 for every car

Friday, December 4, 2015

Screen shot of CityLab story about parking in Los Angeles.


Through the 20th century, parking infrastructure in Los Angeles County, California, has exploded.

In fact, there’s now so much space dedicated to storing cars, it takes up 14 percent of the county’s incorporated area. That amounts to almost one residential parking spot for every registered car in the county and three spots per car overall.

Those findings come from a just-published study by the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Ram Pendyala and colleagues at Arizona State University.

The group estimated parking growth in Los Angeles from 1900 to 2010, trying to assess the impact of minimum parking requirements, how parking has shaped urban development, and how growth in parking infrastructure influences automobile travel.

Pendyala and his co-authors noted that all of this parking infrastructure is likely working against many communities’ efforts to encourage other forms of transportation.

“Widely discussed ways to reform parking policies may be less than effective if planners do not consider the remaining incentives to auto use created by the existing parking infrastructure,” they wrote. “Planners should encourage the conversion of existing parking facilities to alternative uses.”

Their work appears in the Journal of the American Planning Association.

Read more about the study in The Atlantic’s CityLab, which highlighted some of the group's staggering data.