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Can't find curb-side parking? UCLA economist Donald Shoup can find you a space. Professor Shoup is the author of The High ...
Cost of Free Parking, and points out that, "just because the driver doesn't pay for parking doesn't mean the cost goes away."
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Donald Shoup on the High Cost of Free Parking
Donald Shoup: And then an -- large as yours I suppose some of your viewers were even conceived in a parked car. I’m Dr. Shoup I’m a professor of Urban Planning at UCLA. Muost ofm y research is on transportation and land use and on parking is a link between the two. I’m out to save the worl done parking space at a time.
I think planning for parking in the United States has been a disaster. American Drivers Park free at the end of 99% of their vehicle troops just because the driver doesn’t pay for parking it doesn’t mean the cost goes away. The cost is still there. It’s not paid for by the driver but if you pay for parking every other role you have at life is, a tax payer, as a resident, either a tenant or a homeowner when you go shopping when you go to the movies a little bit of every transaction has a small part shaved off to pay for your parking.
When as the total cost of the free parking in the United States is somewhere between what we pay for a Medicare every year and National Defense, I think I have been lucky researching parking because it is escape the other people’s interest at least all their academics interest. They think its either unimportant or trivial but I think it is the single biggest land use in any city and it has a huge effect on the way we live our lives.
Well the average car is parking 95% at the time while other transportation were chasing after the 5% of the time the cars were moving I felt I could find out what was happening during the other 95% of their lives and – says as large as yours I suppose some of your viewers were even conceived in the parked car.
I recommend three basic reforms. First is get the right price for parking. The second is to make this politically feasible by spending all of the meter revenue to add public services on the meter mark so the people see they’re getting something for their money and the third is to reduce all street parking per car.
What is the right price for car parking? In order to make the system work well we need about one vacant space on every bock so that everybody driving around can see that there is a vacant place wherever they want to go. Nobody can say there’s a shortage of parking because ever block they go to. There are one or two vacant spaces but the price has to be at the level that will create that vacancy rate.
So the key aspect of pricing reform is to get the prices right. It will be different at different times of the day different days of the week but it should always be the lowest price. The civic in charge and still have 1 or 2 vacant spaces on every block. Well I think that minimum parking for – have turned out to be a planning disaster.
That now cities won’t allow anything to be built unless it has ample free parking that drives up the cost of all development just reduce the price of parking. Somebody has to pay for that parking and if the city won’t allow these buildings to be built without the parking the cities are really driving us into a future where almost everybody was right and everywhere they go and park free when they get there.
If car parking is cheaper than all street parking we all have the set up to honk for a curve parking drive around hoping to see a car leaving but if your –for parking and lot of other people are too. We study the effectiveness at Westwood village with a little shopping district next to UCLA and cruised ourselves to find out how long it takes to find a space and how far you have to drive. It wasn’t long about 3 minutes but if everybody does this over the course of a year all those cruising for under priced curved parking in Westwood village has about a million vehicle miles a year that’s 4 trips to the moon or 36 trips around the earth in a little 15 block shopping district.
The cruisers don’t pay much attention to bicycles or pedestrians at least to accidents people see an open space on the other side of the street they’ll make a u-turn in the middle of the block at least a dangerous behavior and they’re just doing what the city tells them to do is to cruise for curve parking because it will save you money. The city sells to prices so their using the behavior and I think this is happening all over the earth.
Old Pasadena is a great example of what I’m talking about in terms of parking policy. It’s one of the most popular shopping destinations in Southern California now. 30,000 people on a weekend go to walk around but 30 years ago it was a skid row when mostly vacant stores. The city wanted to put in parking meters because all the curb spaces were taken out by the employees of the few shops that were there.
The person said no way it will chase away the two customers we have. They argued for a couple of years about this until the city said alright if we put in the meters we’ll return all the revenue for added public services capacity there and like that the person said that’s different you didn’t tell me that lets run the meters till midnight or lets run them on Sunday. Lets charge a high price.
So it was the revenue return that transformed the attitude towards paying for parking at least towards charging for parking and the meter money is now over a million dollars a year for 15 blocks business district about saying as Westwood village and they replaced all the side bars. They feed up all the alleys. They put all the wires underground. They steam clean the sidewalks twice a month. They sweep the sidewalks every night and – every night and its all paid for by meter money.
Opacity will toll itself up by parking meters. Once the city began from running all of these enhanced public services all the property began starting their buildings and it’s a wonderful place to go now made possible mainly in by the revenue from the parking meters and I think this could happen in many down town areas of many cities.