Parking lot design

A seemingly non-sexy subject but surely an important one.  First things first:  parking lots are environmentally destructive due to storm water run off and heat island effects.  They are unproductive uses of land.  And they are giant communicators of the wrong message:  drive and you will be rewarded with a parking spot.  As planners, we must find ways to begin to mitigate these negatives and as well as to begin to reclaim existing parking lots while putting new ones on a strict diet.

So here’s a challenge:  should parking lots be flat and compact, taking up as little room as possible?  Or should they conform more to the land and thus be more spread out?

The lot below does the latter.  It is a large lot, containing well over 200 spaces. But it is designed in such a way to roll with the land and allow for a large planting spaces.

IMG_2653My sense is that this parking lot has a lower environmental impact than conventional lots.  It certainly has a much better visual impact.  But it also spread out across much more of the landscape. Alright, that is probably a strawman argument;  this approach is best.


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