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Posted at 01:13 PM ET, 04/23/2012

Free parking — but at what cost?


I overheard a conversation earlier in the month by someone who felt frustrated with Easter mass because so many people go and there’s not enough parking spaces, so she had to get there extra early for a choice space. A lot of urbanists write about their distaste for laws requiring minimum parking spaces, often arguing that stores, apartment buildings and restaurants have more spaces than they need and would build fewer if the law didn’t require them to. Churches are one institution that get a lot less attention.

I went to a Catholic school from kindergarten through 8th grade. The school was part of a parish that also had a sizable church. It also had a huge surface parking lot (probably 50 to 60 percent of the parish’s land was set aside for this parking lot).

During recess, the teachers would take the kids outside and we would run around in the parking lot . There were balls and such, so you could play touch football or kickball or foursquare. But there was no playground and no ball field. The public school down the street, on the other hand, had both of these, even though they had about the same amount of total land. I outlined both on this satellite map.

It never struck me until just recently that my school probably didn’t get a proper ballfield or a playground because there was no space — that huge parking lot was deemed as more important use of land.

[Continue reading Rob Pitingolo’s post at Extraordinary Observations.]

Rob Pitingolo blogs at Extraordinary Observations. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By  |  01:13 PM ET, 04/23/2012

 
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