In municipalities across the country, parking lots are getting reincarnated as everything from outdoor food markets to condos. But those are individual projects. In Long Island--itself a region so caked with traffic that people refer to its central highway, the Long Island Expressway, as one long parking lot--an ambitious plan to convince developers to infill thousands of acres of parking lots with stores and even homes is underway.
The Long Island Index (LII), an advisory group that gathers information about local problems, and suggests ways to solve them, has decided that already dense, trafficky, overpriced, and overbuilt Long Island has as its most untapped resource the parking lot. In their 2010 report, "Places to Grow," the LII has charted specifically where houses and shops could replace lots that stand simply as temporary housing for cars.
Could a Starbucks be coming to a former Starbucks parking lot near you? For the full story, including the interactive map (screen grab above) the LII built for potential developers, check out Grist.org