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Knoxville has more parking spaces than people, analysis shows

There are nearly 29,000 parking spots in garages alone.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Parking around Knoxville, especially on nights and weekends, can be a challenge. 

But a new analysis from the University of Tennessee and the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization found there are twice as many parking spots as people in the city.

"There's a lot of parking here," Craig Hammond said. "A lot."

But just how many is a lot? City planners found there are 403,789 spots taking up about 4,182 acres.

"Maybe that's why you can find parking," Jessica Monaco said. "That's crazy."

The study examined whether parking has started to eat Knoxville. Right now, it takes up about 8 percent of the city's total land.

"That may not sound like a lot, until you consider how much of that space is underused or unused," the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization wrote about the analysis. "Taking that in account allows us to start thinking about how we can reuse and re-purpose some of those spaces."

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Some ideas include creating mixed-use developments or small parks.

For now, people may have to continue trying to find a good spot to park in heavily congested areas.

"It's a battle," Edd Mabe said. "I start on the first floor of this parking garage and normally end up on the top no matter what time of day."

He's willing to walk, but tries to find parking that he doesn't have to pay for. Jim Matuszewski has noticed that too.

"The parking is a little scattered, obviously you have to be able to walk," Matuszewski said. "You're not just going to park and fall into a restaurant or a bar."