Join us for #BlackFridayParking – Paying Tribute to Wasted Space

murica parking lot
America, the Beautiful

As Thanksgiving approaches, we at UrbanABQ are looking back at 2015. We are thankful for the exciting changes we have seen in Albuquerque this past year. From the launch of the Bici bike share system to another successful ABQ CiQlovia to the unexpected appearance of a buffered bike lane on Lead (missed PR opportunity much?), 2015 has been filled with plenty of joy. However, with Thanksgiving on the horizon we can’t ignore an unwanted cultural phenomenon that comes with it:

Black Friday.

On Friday, November 27, Black Friday will be upon us again. In reality, the shopping frenzy will begin on Thanksgiving itself, as thousands of big box retailers open before folks have finished chewing their turkey.

The chaos of Black Friday and the culture that it breeds is intertwined with our culture of suburban sprawl and automobile dependent development. After all, it’s a bit harder to go on a shopping binge at WalMart if you do not have a car. Without an automobile, you need to be more conscious about how much you buy at one time… or buy everything online.  

Over the past few years, there has been a growing backlash against the concept of Black Friday. The consumerism, strikes, stampedes and violence mark a stark contrast to the previous day’s feasts and gratitude. This has led to the development of alternative celebrations such as Buy Nothing Day built around sharing and community. This coming Black Friday, even REI is closing its stores while encouraging their employees to #OptOutside and paying their employees to do so!

A new aspect of this criticism is parking. For the past two years, the good folks over at Strong Towns have led a campaign called #BlackFridayParking. Here is the description of the event:

Black Friday Parking is a nationwide event drawing attention to the harmful nature of minimum parking requirements, which create a barrier for new local businesses and fill up our cities with empty parking spaces that don’t add value to our places. On Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, people all across North America will snap photos of the (hardly full) parking lots in their community to demonstrate how unnecessary these massive lots are. Participants will then upload those photos to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #blackfridayparking.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 12.21.13 PM

Are you familiar with the concept of parking minimums? In summary, every development is required by law to provide a certain amount of parking per square foot of developed space. How much? The answer: it’s arbitrary.

Extensive research, led by the knowledgeable Donald Shoup, has determined that most parking rules require far more parking than needed. Typically, the excessive requirements are justified by this statement: “we’ll need all this parking on Black Friday!” Hence, #blackfridayparking.

There you have it!

Assuming you are out and about on Black Friday, please snap some photos and share them with us, Strong Towns and the Internet in general! 

Share them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the #blackfridayparking hashtag. Also, feel free to post them on the UrbanABQ Facebook page. If you’re inclined, use the #blackfridayparkingabq hashtag as well so we can see how many of you are out there contributing.

Let’s prove that you DON’T need huge parking lots, even on the busiest shopping day of the year.

Let’s replace our shinning seas of asphalt with majestic mixed use development.

Thanks for joining us and Happy Thanksgiving!