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What Would It Look Like If All of Los Angeles's Parking Was in One Giant Blob?

Late last year, a report in the Journal of the American Planning Association revealed just how in love with parking Los Angeles truly is. The figures quoted were quite staggering: they discovered that, in 2010, 14 percent of LA County land was being used for parking, with an estimated 200 square miles of Los Angeles eaten up by some 18.6 million parking spaces. That's 1.4 times more land devoted to parking than to streets and freeways. If the numbers alone aren't enough to hit home exactly how much space parking is taking up in LA, now there's this striking visual of exactly what that looks like. Shane Phillips at the Better Institutions blog (via Streetsblog LA) went ahead and massed all that parking square footage into one big blob and set it down on an LA map to give some perspective on the area's parking addiction. If this parking blob ever gained sentience, it would be certain doom for us all!

The giant red circle represents the 200 square miles of parking if they were all massed together, resulting in a blob that measures 16 miles in diameter, stretching from Burbank to Inglewood north to south, and Santa Monica to Boyle Heights west to east. Some 2.3 million people and 900,000 homes fill the space taken up by the parking blob.

Phillips got the idea for the parking space visualization from an article on the blog Copenhagenize titled "Arrogance of Parking Space" which mapped the same parking statistics for the city of Copenhagen in Denmark. Compared to LA's "parking crater," Copenhagen's is actually kinda cute—total land devoted to parking amounts to about 1.25 square miles compared to LA's 200 square miles. Just for fun, let's see how Copenhagen's parking woes look on a map of LA.

Looks like it would stretch from about Silver Lake to MacArthur Park. Pretty manageable, actually, and not surprising since only 22 percent of people in Copenhagen own a car, and 10 percent drive on a daily basis. Maybe the solution to LA' parking problems isn't in demand-based pricing or new signage. Maybe about 80 percent of Angelenos have to give up their cars for good.

· Visualizing LA's 18.6 Million Parking Spaces as One Enormous Blob [Streetsblog]
· 14 Percent of Los Angeles County Land is Dedicated to Parking [Curbed LA]
· Arrogance of Parking Space [Copenhagenize]