California residents look for shady parking spots this summer

July 15, 2013
cars in shady parking spots

Cars in shady parking spots. Image by LollyDotWalsh.

Soaring temperatures in Palm Springs, California are sending drivers searching for shady parking spots in Coachella Valley. Since everybody wants shady parking, these coveted spots are hard to find. Most of the area is either covered by slender palm trees (which don’t provide much shade) or with saplings that aren’t large enough to shade.

Coming back to a car that’s been baking in 90+ degree weather isn’t fun. Although the heat doesn’t damage the vehicle, it takes a while for the air-conditioning to work when the car is parked in direct sunlight for a long period of time.

Palm Desert resident June Wachs said, “I look for spots that have shade. I will walk a distance just to get that shaded area because I know that by the end of the day, it’s going to be so hard to get the car cooled.”

Planting trees for shade

People are finally realizing the many benefits of planting trees, even if on of the motives is just shady parking. As covered or indoor parking is expensive to build and maintain, planting trees is the easiest way of getting coverage. Planting trees also partly solves long term climate issues. Cathedral City Manager Andy Hall said, “Five months of the year, it’s brutal here, so we need to find ways to address the climate issues we have here.”

Tree-to-parking-spot ratio

Various ordinances stipulate the ratio of trees to parking spots. According to the Rancho Mirage Municipal Code, all parking areas are required to provide a minimum of twenty-five percent permanent shading for parked vehicles.

Use of solar panel structures for shading


View this sign here.

Rancho Mirage City Manager Randy Bynder revealed that the use of solar panel structures over parking lots is underway and will provide permanent shading for vehicles and of course, electricity. These have already been installed around the valley, including at Cathedral City High School and will soon be installed at Rancho Mirage High School.

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