Monday, August 9, 2010

A New Look at Parking Regulations...

One of the long standing challenges in revitalizing downtowns and other more urban settings is the typical American's expectation of parking right outside the business or office or residence they plan to visit.  Granted, there are times (rain, snow, Moscowian smog) where parking proximity is desirable.

But, most of the time, its just out of habit--a habit that has been fueled by the suburban parking regulatory approach of (to use a technical phrase) "way more spaces that you could ever need except maybe on the day after Thanksgiving".

That's why the research of UCLA urban planning prof Donald Shoup is so useful.  His must-read book is "The High Cost of Free Parking"--an interesting tome that debunks many myths related to the necessity and appropriateness of applying the suburban parking laws in all city settings.

Recently, Prof. Shoup introduced a very useful video as part of his work with the City of San Francisco.  You can view the short video here (less than 3 minutes).  It does an excellent job of explaining how a market-based parking system can help relieve the frustrated groans of prospective parkers as they "circle the block" like hamsters on a wheel.

--Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.

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