Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Black Friday Parking - 2014 Event - Houston Edition - #blackfridayparking

If there's any day that parking lots will be full, it's Black Friday. And if there's any city that loves its parking lots as much as shopping, it's Houston.

A typical suburban shopping center parking lot. (Source)

The folks over at Strong Towns are hosting Black Friday Parking "a nationwide event to draw attention to the ridiculousness of minimum parking requirements." This will be a way to share the frustrations surrounding the rationales of the minimum parking requirements that are found in many cities, not just Houston. Strong Towns, which supports "a model of growth that allows America's cities, towns and neighborhoods to become financially strong and resilient", asks that urbanists and city enthusiasts capture parking lots that are empty. Take a picture, share it by using the #blackfridayparking hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, and tell others why you're taking pictures of parking lots!

Here's a bit more from the Strong Towns Black Friday Parking event page:
Minimum parking requirements are often justified by the notion that there needs to be enough parking for the peak shopping day. Under that theory, America’s businesses are required to set aside large amounts of land and make enormous capital investments in asphalt and concrete for the sake of a few hours each year. If the theory were true, parking minimums would still be a bizarre misallocation of resources. Unfortunately, our ability to predict peak parking demand is woefully inadequate.
Minimum parking standards are destructive: 
  • They place unnecessary financial burdens on businesses.
  • They hurt small business competitiveness.
  • They require expensive maintenance.
  • They reduce the tax base.
  • They are not needed and cannot be justified by any credible research.

So, if you're around Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio or a shopping center in any other city this Friday and see a large parking lot with empty parking spaces in the midst of the Black Friday shopping rush, snap a picture and send it to Strong Towns. And, if you're really crazy enough to go out shopping Friday morning, here's the best Black Friday advertisements so far.