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PARKING PROGRESS: "The High Cost of Free Parking" by Donald C Shoup

Original post made by John hackmann, Professorville, on Sep 4, 2012

Parking downtown, and neighborhood parking, seems like it needs a fresh look. This book (2011) mentions PALO ALTO many times, and may contain facts and evidence that is useful.

Parking requirements seem drastically misunderstood and misused.
Planning seems well intentioned, but misguided and ineffectual.

Is anyone interested in discussing the merits of these approaches, and the validity of his observations?

As a group, perhaps we can clarify the principles, see objectively what does and doesn't work, and consider (y blogging or meeting) a better consensus solution.

Parking is so tight, we may PARK FIRST then DECIDE WHAT TO DO!

I am sure some like me see a space, then park, then figure out what part of today's business can I do from here? Walgreens? Post Office? One of six banks? Meeting? Downtown library? Bells Books?

He uses METERS to PRICE PARKING as in Redwood City.
But how can we adapt that here WITHOUT METERS?
I think we can if we put our heads together!

SO, I would like to invite others to order this book from Bell's or library and let's talk!

Comments (3)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 4, 2012 at 9:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Stanford University learned long ago that free parking lead to a lot of wasted time looking for a parking space and diverted money for parking programs from its primary educational mission. In 1976 Stanford introduced paid parking and the results have been impressive. Lots of new parking structures built with parking revenues, bike and pedestrian paths built with parking revenues and the Marguerita shuttle serving Stanford and surrounding communities paid for by parking revenues. Not one dime of educational funds go to the care and feeding of automobiles. And in the process large central portions of the campus where automobiles had been free to drive and park were converted to automobile exclusion zones and now have become pleasant pedestrian and bicycle spaces.

Free goods are never allocated in a responsible or fair manner. Parking is no exception.


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Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 5, 2012 at 12:18 am

(I can't login to the system for some reason)
Assuming I'm thinking of the right author, Donald Shoup's strategy is to find the right price for parking such that 85% of the spots are parked and 15% are free at any given moment, statistically. The aim is to have 1 or 2 spots free each block so you can park instead of endlessly circling and causing more traffic trying to find a spot. There was a survey of drivers, I think in NYC, showing that -- if I recall correctly -- 25% of the drivers were actually looking to park! Of course, that's a bigger city, but I wouldn't be surprised if downtown PA was comparable.


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Posted by Right On!
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Would somebody please send a copy of this book to the Transportation Division and City Council? This should be on their required reading list.


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