What generates about 29 billion dollars for the US every year?
No, it’s not the manufacturer of a certain car but the habit of needing somewhere to park them. It may be one of the first things you learn on in your driving test, but that doesn’t mean everyone likes to do it, and we feel like the butt of some joke when we can’t do it right.
It is strange to talk about “parking growth areas” but that’s the term used by people who have to study these trends. States like California have noticed an increase in the rate of increased need. That’s a tongue twister.
Most parking lots exist for employees, but not by a large margin. There is also student parking, airport parking, stadium parking, and parking to shop at the mall. Any building which is constantly visited needs somewhere to people to park. But then again, so do various gardens, national parks and so on. The most dreaded of all parking is “ON THE STREET.”
It comes as no surprise that the parking meter was an American invention although it wasn’t created by someone in New York or Los Angeles but for Oklahoma City. The name parking meter is a corruption of the brand name of the first parking meter, the “Park-O-Meter.” Surprisingly, Park-O-Meter didn’t take off as a business model, probably because the metered spots were in a lot, rather than kerbside parking spaces as we tend to see it today. The also charged 5 cents to park for 15 minutes, which seems cheap until you learn that this is the equivalent of a dollar in today’s parking.
The problem of cars being parked in the wrong place is as old as cars themselves. The parking clamp, or Denver Boot, was another American invention. Strangely enough, it was invented by Frank Marugg, a violinist who performed at the Denver Sympathy Orchestra. Exactly what a violinist knows about keeping vehicles secure remains a mystery. The first Boots were made of steel but were later changed to aluminum. There are now various versions of clamps across the world.
Valet parking is hardly new, but the idea that your car can park itself is gaining traction. Despite the idea that self-driving seems in its infancy a huge amount of money has been invested in self-parking (AKA autonomous parking). Cars parking themselves will somehow mix with cars being parked by humans. Predictably, regardless of how successful self-parking cars are unto themselves, the interaction between them and traditional, driver parked cars could cause issues.
Parking is tricky for some folks. Others hate driving past their destination to an unsavory alley with a faint urine smell, only to walk several blocks in the rain back to your destination. Perhaps the real reason why parking is hated so much is that people own cars to see wide open spaces and beautiful scenery. The parking garage is loathed by most but is a necessary evil if you want to explore a town or a city. So it looks like we’re stuck with it.