A lesson from Detroit

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .


We all know that Detroit has too much debt, but that’s not the only thing that’s hurting it.
In “How Too Much Parking Strangled the Motor City,” the Atlantic Cities’s Emily Badger reports today on a staggering amount of surface lots and garages in the Motor City. It might be expected in the city where the car was king for so long, but it’s clearly not what anyone would want her city to look like, at street level or aerially.
The report quotes Rob Linn, a Detroit native and a planner by training, who counted all the parking sites and drew a map, above, showing their prevalence around what should be the most vibrant part of the city.
As a fan of Detroit, it pains me to look at this... and it makes me wonder what a similarly-themed map of Downtown Pittsburgh would look like.
In places where land is more desirable and to which people flock, parking is harder to come by, as the article points out. People in Detroit expect to be able to park within a few blocks of where they are going while people in New York and Chicago would find that laughable.
The story also points out that among large American cities, Detroit has the highest number of commuters who drive alone.
There’s a lot in Detroit to fix, but there are things to celebrate, from the pioneering artists gambling on its future to its division leading Tigers. Here at Walkabout, we’re rooting for our sister Rust Belt city for a better future, without so many cars.


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