CityNerd Runs Down America’s Most Humongous Parking Lots

In this edition of YouTube’s CityNerd, “Enormous Parking Lots of the U.S.: The 10 Most Sprawling Car Parks and Why They Exist,” your humble narrator takes us on a tour of the ten most humongous parking lots in America. As you might already guess, many of them involve sporting events. Some of them involve NASCAR. 

The humongous parking lots in this video are better developed than the Alaska music festival versions, but they still use up a lot of land that just sits there when an event is not happening. Some are surprisingly close to urban centers. Each venue is very creative about how they manage the spaces and…surprise: not all parking lots are created equal, considering sheer footprint size and surface permeability. 

According to CityNerd research, a parking lot is more than a static section of paved areas. The analysis here gets expanded to consider overall footprints and venue design. 

 “There may be no greater indication of car dependency in the United States than the sheer number of massive parking craters that litter our cities, creating dead zones for urban activity and motor-vehicle choked streets,” reads the intro. “Bulk private vehicle storage in all its forms is fundamentally anti-urbanist, but space-hogging surface parking is probably the worst. In this video we survey the largest parking lots in the U.S., discuss why they exist in the places they do, and talk about the kind of planning and analysis that leads to them getting built.”

CityNerd intersects with the Strong Towns approach to development and urbanism, particularly on the subjects of walkability, car dependence, and the Suburban Experiment. Nerd out on videos about induced demand; freeway lids, caps, and decks; and hunting for walkable neighborhoods. Video topics are usually viewer suggested and come out once a week. 

Behind CityNerd is a Portland, Oregon-based, transportation/planning project manager with some video production in his background. He took a one-year sabbatical break and found himself producing the YouTube series. He intends to get back to his real job at some point, but in the meantime he’s having too much fun publishing for a fast-growing audience of 27,000-plus subscribers. We will be sharing CityNerd posts intermittently, when they most connect with Strong Towns themes.

A key takeaway for me in this humongous parking lots edition: How do large event venues in Europe differ from large American venues and why? What do these differences say about the way we design our cities and our transportation systems?

Summer is still a season away, but this CityNerd rundown might make you yearn for a hot sunny day, whether you’ve driven hundreds of miles to watch cars go around in a circle (plus a whole lot more) or to enjoy a big college football rivalry. Or just the party in the parking lot. 

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