COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A little more than a quarter of downtown Columbus’ surface area is dedicated solely to parking, according to data released by a nonprofit last week. 

The data, plotted on an interactive map, comes from the Parking Reform Network, an organization that works to inform people about the impact of parking on climate change, housing, traffic and more. View the Columbus map by selecting the city from the dropdown menu below.

“Over the past century, cities have increasingly relied on cars for transportation, leading to the implementation of minimum parking requirements mandating that all new developments have abundant free parking. As a result, our cities became covered in a sea of parking spaces, parking lots, and parking structures. With all this parking, little land was left for anything else, making housing more expensive, less dense, and farther apart,” the group wrote. 

The nonprofit published 86 maps of cities across the United States, highlighting the space dedicated to parking lots.

On average, in metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people, 22% of land in the city center is used for parking.

In downtown Columbus, the map shows 27% of the city is a designated parking lot. 

 (Courtesy Thomas Carpenito/Parking Reform Network)

The group argues that this space could be better used for housing, businesses or public gathering spaces. 

“This parking is often clustered around main streets, office districts, and historical cores, creating a dead zone around the city’s most valuable and walkable areas that limits residential and commercial growth,” the group wrote. 

The nonprofit also assigned “parking scores” between one and 100. A low parking score means the city devotes less land to parking than the average. A high parking score means the city dedicates more land to parking than the average. 

The score was calculated by taking the difference between a city’s parking footprint and the average parking footprint for a metro area of that size.

Columbus was given a parking score of 68, which ranks as the 15th highest out of the 74 cities ranked by parking score. Of the cities included, the lowest score was 5 (New York) and the highest was 99 (Riverside, California).

The nonprofit noted Columbus has implemented parking reform, eliminating all parking minimums in the downtown planning area. New accessory surface lots are also prohibited in much of the downtown area.

Of the cities analyzed, those who had the most space dedicated to parking were San Bernardino, California (49%); Arlington, Texas (42%); Lexington, Kentucky (38%); Wichita, Kansas (35%); and Virginia Beach (35%).

New York (1%), Washington, D.C. (3%), Chicago (4%), San Francisco (4%) and Boston (6%) were found to be the top five city centers with the least amount of dedicated parking spaces.