Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Flint Parking Pattern

Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times has a great story about the paving over of American cities to create parking. Sound familiar, Flintoids? Pensacola, Florida has somehow snagged the naming rights to this unfortunate phenomena.
The Pensacola Parking Syndrome is a term of the trade used to describe a city that tears down its old buildings to create parking spaces to entice more people downtown, until people no longer want to go there because it has become an empty lot. Cities should let the free market handle the construction of new parking spaces. People who buy or rent new homes can pay extra if they want someplace to park a car. Municipalities can instead cap the maximum number of lots or the ratio of spaces to dwellings and offices.
I'm biased, but I think the Flint Parking Pattern (FPP) would have been more appropriate.

Thanks to Grumkin for passing this along.


  1. I had always heard the reason people flew so fast to the GV mall was because there was free parking.

    I can't agree that the free market should be the ones to handle construction of new parking spaces, unless there's some regulation involved. Urban planning has to be overseen by someone.

    I think there should be different types of parking... storage parking, visitor parking, and limited time parking... the limited time being free (for 6 hrs or whatever)... the storage in garages for apartments rented monthly but you get the same spot, and visitor parking rented out hourly...

    Come to think of it, that is what NYC has today, but it's really unaffordable and mostly unavailable.

    Still, in cities like Flint where it could be available and affordable, the limited time free parking aspect should be considered.

  2. Two lines into the reading, I thought of Grumkin then Big Yellow Taxi. Diversity is the answer when it comes to considering parking in a downtown area. Everyone is on a different time mission. Free, Metered, rental, ramp and illegal are some of the choices where I'm at and it works quite well, except when there is an event in town that really brings folks in.

  3. Yeah, but you're talking about a city with people who fence in lots for their building only, ignoring the fact it may hurt other businesses, just so they can have a safer 30+ car lot with 5 cars in it. There are too many vultures that come in here from other, more prominent, cities thinking what works there will work here. There's a lot of misplaced "if you build it they will come" ideas from them that disrupt what little was in place and was working.

    My wife recently had a conversation with two people from where you're living now, thinking they'd go into these notoriously wretched areas, buy some cheap homes, do some minimal work, and turn huge profits. She just had to laugh at them.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at