The Size of Parking — Have We Come Full Circle?


The Size of Parking — Have We Come Full Circle?

Remember back in the ‘good ole days’ when compact cars were the rage and we reduced the size of parking spaces so we could fit more cars in a garage? Today the reverse may be true.

Although passenger cars may be smaller than we experienced in the 50s when fins were ‘in’ and trunks and hoods were used for ski runs in winter, we are now experiencing a plethora of trucks and SUVs that find it difficult to fit in even average spaces.

The City of Hartford, CT has found that on street spaces are now too small for many of its resident’s vehicles. Read all about it in

A local TV station ran a quick study and asked a truck owner to attempt to park in a few spaces around town. If he actually could get into the space, his front and rear often hung over into the spaces on either side. What to do, what to do?

The local parking authority says there are plenty of plus sized spaces in off street lots but acknowledge that in many garages these cars won’t fit at all. It turns out that in Hartford, at least, the size of on street spaces vary and tickets are issued when vehicles don’t fit in the space.

How many of you can remember when we build garages to meet parking minimums and painted lines on the floor with a majority of spaces being “compact” and then, upon receiving the Certificate of Occupancy from the city crept in under cover of darkness and repainted the spaces so ‘average’ cars could fit but reducing the number below that required by statute? I’m sure you never did that but heard the rumor.

With the popularity of SUVs, crossovers and trucks on the rise, perhaps its time for designers to take new vehicle sizes into consideration when putting pen to paper in new facilities, or when restriping streets. I know, I know, they say they are already doing that, but really – look out your window. Can you even get down the aisle at the shopping center any more? I rest my case.

Municipalities are raising prices on parking nationwide. In some cities the prices change hourly depending on demand. If I am going to pay $5 or $10 an hour, should I not expect to find a space that fits my car?

I really have no problem with paying more if I own a Lincoln Navigator or Ford Expedition and take more space but isn’t it time we considered our customers and provided a product that fit their needs?

I almost wrote “you can’t have it both ways” but then remembered that local governments pride themselves on having it both ways, reduce the space, increase the price.

The fellow in Hartford loves his truck but says he simply doesn’t drive into the city that often. Its too much trouble.

Its so easy to simply say that people should drive cars that fit the city, or maybe not drive at all. Oh yes, and live in 600 square foot apartments and …..

I’m sure you will get the idea.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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