Drivers know all too well that parking lots are hot, uncomfortable, and are never the right size. In France larger parking lots will now require shading in the form of solar panels, making the large swaths of asphalt a little more comfortable. The solar panels are projected to provide the equivalent of 10 nuclear power plants.
Imagine if a law like this was passed in North America – we wouldn’t need any other source of energy!
Starting July 1, 2023, smaller carparks that have between 80 and 400 spaces will have five years to be in compliance with the new measures. Carparks with more than 400 spaces have a shorter timeline: They will need to comply with the new measures within three years of this date, and at least half of the surface area of the parking lot will need to be covered in solar panels.
There’s a fiction that cars are needed in cities and we should provide parts of our limited land in urban centres so one person can leave their car. This fiction perpetuated by car brains hurts our cities and is really not good, to solve this problem the city of Rotterdam create a parking pad that fits more than one vehicle using the same plot of land. Yes, it’s a bike rack. A special rack. The bicycle rack is placed on a mobile platform that is the size of a single car. The city can then easily trial out new bike rack locations, gauge demand, and get local communities to support a permanent parking solution.
The idea came originally from planners in the city of Rotterdam, who were brainstorming ideas in 2015 to help increase biking in a neighborhood that had extra car parking. “We figured, why couldn’t we develop a bicycle platform in order to just test if there’s demand for bicycle parking in this neighborhood—launch it as a test and experiment to help change the mindset of people in this neighborhood,” says urban planner José Besselink. “We also thought it would help us in accelerating this transition because we know that eliminating car parking is a tough thing anywhere in the world.”
In The Hague, neighbors can request a platform for their own block. On one of the streets where bike parking was installed this spring, the project helped residents realize they wanted to do more, says Schutte. “The residents of the street want to go even further and are investigating whether there could be more greenery in the street and whether the street could be made car-free,” she says. “It has also made residents more aware of their living environment and that you can do something about it, together with other residents and the municipality.”
The video above The Guardian explores the costs of subsidizing cars in cities and looks at alternatives to car-focussed design. In the UK Nottingham raised the price of parking to reflect the actual land costs. They then took that increased revenue to spend it on public transportation, which is a more effect way to move people in urban spaces. Which brings us to an important aspect of the video: argue for more efficient transit instead of arguing against the car. Car drivers get really defensive when you tell them they are traffic. It also turns out that in Nottingham the cost of parking didn’t negatively impact business at all.
Bike share programs have taken the world by storm, more cities than ever before are using bike sharing systems as part of their transit solutions. Bike sharing allows for a mixture of bicycle rides mixed with mass transit. The popularity of bike sharing amongst commuters is also on the rise, to capture how popular the system is one enterprising individual set up a camera right beside a bike sharing station in New York. Notice how many people are utilizing the bike share parking versus the cars that stay stationary.
Luke Ohlson recently recorded the mad rush in time lapse at 5 p.m. on a weekday to make a point about transit in New York. â€œParking takes up 150,000 acres of New York City street space, yet a majority of New Yorkers do not drive or use cars,â€ says Ohlson, a senior organizer at Transportation Alternatives, an activist group that promotes biking, walking, and public transit. â€œIf we use some of the public space that is currently allocated to parking differently, the whole neighborhood can benefit.â€
The Norwegian capital of Oslo dealt with an interesting proposition of banning all cars in the city centre by compromising. At first business and some residents (only 30% of urban dwellers own cars in Norway) didn’t like the proposal at all claiming it would ruin neighbourhoods and business. To address their concerns the city rolled out a ban on parking within the city centre, the freed space would be used to productive use as public space and bike lanes. The ultimate result is that the business are doing better than before and the city is a better place to live.
The councilâ€™s clever solution? Rather than banning cars, it would ban parking â€“ all 650 on-street parking spots. In their place, â€œweâ€™ll put up installations and create public spaces,â€ says Berg, referring to six pilot areas. â€œSome will be playgrounds or cultural events, or [contain] benches or bike parking â€“ or other things you can fill the space with when you donâ€™t have 1,200 kilograms of glass and steel.â€
Osloâ€™s transformation will be rolled out in three phases. In stage one, all on-street parking within Ring 1 will be removed, as well as some parking in surrounding areas deemed to be â€œin conflict with bike developmentâ€. Car parks in and around the central zone will stay, but many other on-street parking spaces will be freed up for alternative uses.
Stage two, in 2018, will see the pedestrian network extended, and close several streets to private traffic; shared space will be introduced, and 40 miles of bike lanes built.