Parking Craters: Scourge of American Downtowns from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Parking lots are the scourge of American Downtowns. Citylab does a nice summary on the problem with parking lots.

There are said to be at least 105 million and maybe as many as 2 billion parking spaces in the United States. A third of them are in parking lots, those asphalt deserts that we claim to hate but that proliferate for our convenience. One study says we’ve built eight parking spots for every car in the country.

About the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined

The problem is that much of the vast “craters” of parking lots in urban centers are empty. NPR’s Planet Money does a good job explaining how the “free market” can be applied to parking space usage.

The price should be cheap enough that most of the metered spaces and city parking lots are always almost full.

But it shouldn’t be so cheap that spaces are entirely full, leaving drivers frustrated and adding to congestion as cars circle endlessly looking for a place to park.