The WaPo Does it Again…


The WaPo Does it Again…

Shannon MacDonald has written a book called "The Parking Garage" and in full disclosure, PT’s articles have been quoted in a couple of places. She also used some pictures we printed. Judging from the correspondence we received from Shannon over the past couple of years, this has been a lot of work, and a work of love.

All that having been said, the Washington Post and its staff writer Phillip Kinnicott has taken out after Shannon and the parking garage industry in general. Actually, they were rather kind to the book, but didn’t particularly like Shannon’s speaking abilities at a presentation she made at the Library of Congress. I think personal swipes at non professional speakers is out of place in general, but Phillip’s diatribe against parking garages is simply over the top. Read it here

He criticizes garages that no longer stand, he criticizes garages that have been built for decades, and then he criticizes the industry in general for building garages at all. 

It should be noted that he comments that Shannon has said that many garages are monoliths and that the industry should, (and has) taken a design view of garages so that they fit more into their environment and are multi use projects, rather than simply focused on the automobile.

However his take that all the problems of the world are caused by garages built in central cities is nonsense. Of course the garage has evolved. Of course when garages were first built they were clumsy and difficult. Of course early designs weren’t as good as current ones. That’s what happens in life, Peter.

As long as there are cars, there will have to be places to put them. Its as simple as that. If we want to change our modes of transportation, so be it. But don’t blame the stable because you were kicked by the horse.

In my humble opinion garages have evolved in many ways. They are now smaller, more efficient, and often multi use facilities, bringing shops, housing, and offices to what was once barren brownfields.

It seems that Peter has simply followed the rule that its easier to write 17 inches of criticism than  17 inches of  reality.

Oh, buy the way, Peter, where is your car parked at this moment?


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Dear John,
    As you know the parking industry has supported me with a great deal of information that could not be found anywhere else, in my work over the many years and this book could not have happened without them. However, I am a trained teacher, I have been lecturing for years around the world, won awards for my presentations and I hoped that only people who attended the lecture would comment on the lecture itself. Many people have contacted me to tell me that they must have been in different talk than the one that they read about in the review as they didn’t recognize it from his comments. The book is quite extensive and intertwines many aspects of architecture, planning, the environment, transportation and design. I hope that you will find it full of information to assist all of us as we try to move forward in our country – as I said in the talk it is the study of a very important architectural typology – in architecture speak that means a discussion of the “one and the many” and in our country we are emersed in this intelectual debate and it needs to be a fair and honest one if our contry is to be successful and move forward in the world adn as always the parking garage is at the center.

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