Why You Can’t Find a Damn Parking Spot
Decoder Ring
Wed, May 3, 2023
Podchat Summary
In this podcast episode, the hosts discuss the major issue of parking in American cities. Despite an estimated 1-2 billion parking spaces in the US, finding a spot can still be difficult due to factors such as parking being divided between different businesses and the high demand for convenient parking. The hosts delve into the impact of parking on traffic congestion, air pollution, and carbon emissions, as people often drive around looking for parking. They also explore the research of Don Shoup, who suggests that charging for parking can help manage demand and reduce the need for excessive parking supply. The hosts highlight the case of Seaside, Florida, a town known for its people-friendly design, which implemented paid parking and reduced its parking supply, resulting in a better parking experience and the transformation of a former parking lot into a public plaza. Ultimately, the hosts argue that the key to solving the parking problem is not to build more parking spaces, but to create walkable communities that reduce the need for cars and prioritize people over vehicles.
Original Show Notes
Parking is one of the great paradoxes of American life. On the one hand, we have paved an ungodly amount of land to park our cars. On the other, it seems like it’s never enough.  Slate’s Henry Grabar has spent the last few years investigating how our pathological need for car storage determines the look, feel, and function of the places we live. It turns out our quest for parking has made some of our biggest problems worse. In this episode, we’re going to hunt for parking, from the mean streets of Brooklyn to the sandy lots of Florida. We’ll explore how parking has quietly damaged the American landscape—and see what might fix it. This episode was written by Henry Grabar, author of Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World. It was edited by Willa Paskin, who produces Decoder Ring with Katie Shepherd. We had extra production from Patrick Fort and editing help from Joel Meyer. Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. Thank you to: Jane Wilberding, Rachel Weinberger, Donald Shoup, Andrés Duany, Robert Davis, Micah Davis, Christy Milliken, Fletcher Isacks, Victor Benhamou, and Nina Pareja.  If you have any cultural mysteries you want us to decode, you can email us at DecoderRing@slate.com If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. (Even better, tell your friends.) If you’re a fan of the show, sign up for Slate Plus. You’ll be able to listen to Decoder Ring without any ads—and your support is crucial to our work. Go to www.slate.com/decoderplus to join Slate Plus today. Decoder Ring is now available on YouTube. Listen here: https://slate.trib.al/ucMyTst Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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