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Posts Tagged ‘parking’

New Cross Traffic Alert Systems Often Fail, Warns AAA

by on Dec.10, 2015

An illustration shows how a cross-traffic alert system works, by spotting oncoming traffic.

A major new safety technology frequently fails to work as promised, according to a new study by the AAA, leading to parking lot crashes and injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.

The problem is complicated by the fact that more than three quarters of U.S. drivers “park incorrectly,” the road service and safety organization reported. That further enhances the risk of accidents in parking lots, according to the AAA study.

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“Recognizing that American parking habits differ from much of the world, automakers are increasingly adding technology to vehicles that is designed to address rear visibility concerns,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “However, AAA’s testing of these systems reveals significant shortcomings when used in real-world conditions and Americans should rely more on driving skills than technology.”

The root of the problem is the way Americans typically park in shopping center and mall lots, 76% pulling forward, rather than backing into spots. That practice leaves pedestrians and bicyclists more vulnerable, while increasing the risk of a driver backing out into traffic.


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Free parking and the Bill of Rights?

by on Aug.18, 2010

An American right?

It’s not mentioned in the Constitution or Bill or Rights, but are there any American motorists—except in densely urban areas– who doubt that free parking for their cars is a fundamental right?  Of course not, if there were, they’d be bounced out of town on a greasy frame rail.

Not so for a couple of college professors who, in a Sunday New York Times Business Section opinion, advocate that free parking be banished.  Ironically, both are faculty members at commuter colleges that would die without giant parking lots for their briefcase- or backpack-bearing students, most of whom arrive by car.

Donald C. Shoup, professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) pegs the value of a Los Angeles parking place at $31,000.  Tyler Cowen, professor of economics at George Mason University in suburban Washington, DC, posits that “99 percent of all automobile trips in the United States end in a free parking space, rather than a parking space with a market price.”

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Eliminating these free spaces, argues Cowen, would “encourage a relatively efficient high-density use of space.”  Thanks but no thanks, if I wanted to be a “high-density” cliff dweller in New York City or Chicago’s loop, I would have made that choice long ago.  Like most Americans who have a choice, I treasure my suburban sod.