Assistant Professor Michael Piper's research into the design of more efficient parking lots — ones that require fewer spaces, but still meet demand — received coverage in the most recent issue of the Toronto edition of Novae Res Urbis:
University of Toronto professor and dub Studios principal Michael Piper is thinking circles around the way we park our cars — and how much space those cars really need to take up.
Piper is researching ways people can share their parking spaces in order to create new uses for essentially extraneous space. He uses the example of a residential and commercial building, side by side—why not have the commercial folks use some of the parking that’s not needed by residents during the day, and vice versa at night?
The idea, he admits, is not without its opponents. But he thinks, with a little prodding, it can gain traction.
“We often try to solve parking problems by building more parking. But if you optimize what you already have, you can build less.”
Piper recently led a team that included Daniels Faculty graduate and current instructor Ultan Byrne in the design of a new parking lot for the Long Island village of Patchogue. Long Island's downtowns are home to more than 4,000 acres of surface parking lots, space that could be redesigned to be made more vibrant, welcoming, and useful.
His team's design looked at making the parking lots not only more efficient, but safer and more welcoming as well. “People don’t often walk on six lane arterial roads in the suburbs, but they do walk around in parking lots. And so concentrating space in a parking area where people are encouraged to walk would create a more public atmosphere for people using the lots,” he told Novae Res Urbis' Municipal Affairs Reporter Sarah Ratchford.
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