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Just Because You Can't Find a Place to Park Doesn't Mean There Aren't Way Too Many Parking Spots

A new analysis of 27 mixed-use areas finds that parking in U.S. metro areas is, on average, oversupplied by 65 percent.
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When we say we can't find anywhere to park, what we usually mean is we can't find a free or insanely cheap parking spot within spitting distance of our destination. As a nation of parkers we're all home run hitters who've forgotten what it's like to knock a single—or, as a closer metaphor, to draw a walk. The result is a misperception that parking is scarce despite the great deal of lots, street spaces, or garages that might exist a block or two away.

Some new research reminds us just how oversupplied parking really tends to be in American metro areas: in a word, enormously. Rachel Weinberger and Joshua Karlin-Resnick of Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates analyzed parking studies of 27 mixed-use districts across the United States and found "parking was universally oversupplied, in many cases quite significantly." On average across the cases, parking supply exceeded demand by 65 percent.