The BBC published an article earlier today asking ‘Is there a worldwide parking problem’ in response to a piece of research published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In the article they talk about all the cunning ways one can park 600 million cars in a smaller space that at present, or just change the colour of the car park so that the surface doesn’t get so hot.
Unfortunately they (and the report) doesn’t address the question of why so many people drive in the first place, how demand can be reduced. No mention of car clubs, public transport, cycling or simply charging drivers for the spaces they use rather than just providing spaces for free. The BBC gives Bluewater, which provides 13,000 free parking places ‘right next to the M25’, as an example of good practice because they have lots of tree shade. The architect of the Bluewater car parks is quoted as saying “[car parks] should be designed in such a way that they “honour the heroic routine” of driving, working and shopping.”
Heroes, driving, shopping? Now this is getting seriously weird!
They also make no mention of the dramatic reductions in car traffic in many UK cities since about 1995 or the impressive drop in parking demand in Canary Wharf recently; in the late 1990s 12% of workers in Canary Wharf ‘demanded‘ parking spaces, but now only half that number do. I am not sure why This is London uses the phrase ‘demand’; I could ‘demand’ more cycle racks or free bus travel and nothing would change! But I guess heroes can demand anything.
Anyway… I have written to the BBC with my views and will see if I get any sort of response.