I’m not sure how they would be. Just off the top of my head, I would imagine they would be better for the environment – handicapped parking spots are (usually) more readily available and (by definition) close to the buildings, which means less time spent looking for a spot, less fuel consumption and less pollution. I can’t think of a way they might negatively impact the environment. In any case, I think the very specific, human need in this case supersedes any possible minimal environmental impact.
If we only supplied handicapped spaces and took out the rest of the parking lot the environment would benefit a great deal. The handicapped spaces specifically cause no more damage than the rest of the lot, which increases oils, heavy metals, and sediment runoff into lakes and rivers because there is no soil to absorb it. Some 30% of congestion is due to cars looking for a parking space, and L.A. alone emits 730 tons of carbon dioxide per year just by people circling to find parking spaces.
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