Tuesday, June 16, 2009

City Parking lots - why asphalt?

Flying over a city gives you an overview of how our land is being used. Of course there are miles of asphalt in the streets and the thousands of cars. If you live in a large urban center then you see the towering buildings, the condos and houses. If you are looking for green spaces your eyes search out the parks. Sometimes you can pick out some tree lined streets. Google Earth of course means you can see it all from the comfort of your chair.

Now just imagine for a second that all the stretches of parking lots were green. That every parking lot you drove into was either gravel or .. gasp ... grass. Take an image like this:

View Larger Map and just imagine what it would look like if it was green.

Personally, I think there should be more legislation in place to offer incentives for companies to build greener. Generally, once you factor in the costs of putting in asphalt - the drains needed, the curbing, the gutters, the very deep base needed (6-10 inches sometimes of gravel) - you're not looking at a cost savings. Then consider the repairs.

A lot of US states and local bylaws are requiring changes with parking lots. In the image you see above part of the lots just aren't being used. They sit there waiting for Christmas or Thanksgiving rush. You can see those sections - far off in the distance. They are often called overflow parking. 90% of the time they are empty.
Thousands of miles of empty parking just waiting for a small time frame for use.

Why not make those grassy places? it would mean that there are hundreds of square feet per parking lot that would DIRECLY help the environment.

I think that's what I love about the EcoGrid. Its simple. There's no need for huge drainage systems. The grid goes down, the water flows through. Plant grass. Plant seedums. Mow it or use a low maintenance grass - and all those Big box parking lots suddenly aren't ugly. They are directly impacting the environment - but this time in a positive way.

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