Parking

THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Ending the Abuse of Disabled Parking Placards

Donald Shoup

Almost everyone can tell an anecdote about disabled placard abuse. One of mine stems from a visit to the Capitol building in Sacramento. After noticing that cars with disabled placards occupied almost all the metered curb spaces surrounding the Capitol, I talked to one of the state troopers guarding a driveway entrance. He watched all the arrivals and departures at the nearby metered spaces every day. When I asked the trooper to estimate how many of the placards he thought were being used illegally, he responded, "All of them."

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2018-02-14T21:00:25+00:00Categories: ACCESS 39, Fall 2011|Tags: |

Free Parking or Free Markets

Donald Shoup

Cities should charge the right prices for curb parking because the wrong prices produce such bad results. Where curb parking is underpriced and overcrowded, a surprising share of cars on congested streets can be searching for a place to park. Sixteen studies conducted between 1927 and 2001 found that, on average, 30 percent of the cars in congested downtown traffic were cruising for parking. More recently, when researchers interviewed drivers stopped at traffic signals in New York City in 2006 and 2007, they found that 28 percent of the drivers on a street in Manhattan and 45 percent on a street in Brooklyn were cruising for curb parking.

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2018-02-14T21:20:07+00:00Categories: ACCESS 38, Spring 2011|Tags: , |

THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Graduated Parking Fines

Donald Shoup

Cities often increase their parking fines when they need more money. Los Angeles, for example, is facing a major budget crisis and increased its fines for all parking tickets by $5, regardless of the violation. This across-the-board hike suggests that the higher fines are more about raising money than about enforcing the law. But a few cities have discovered how to enforce the law and raise money without costing most drivers anything. Cities can achieve these three goals by using graduated parking fines.

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2017-05-26T23:32:31+00:00Categories: ACCESS 37, Fall 2010|Tags: , |

On-Street Parking Spaces for Shared Cars

Andrea Osgood

In addition to their many advantages, cars also cause problems: traffic congestion, air pollution, energy consumption, and even reduced mobility for those who don’t own a car. Carsharing is a new form of vehicle ownership that can help address these problems. Membership in a carsharing organization increases access to cars but also encourages judicious use of them. In essence, carsharing converts the high fixed costs of owning a car (purchase price, insurance, taxes, and maintenance) into smaller units—the per-hour or per-mile price of driving a car. By spreading the fixed costs of a car over many users, carsharing makes automobile travel an option for those who cannot afford to buy their own vehicle. But because users pay a high marginal cost for every hour or mile they drive, carsharing also gives members a strong incentive to drive less. In this way, carsharing can both increase mobility for people who might otherwise be carless and also reduce auto travel among members who previously owned their own car. This reduction in auto travel carries a host of benefits to society, from reducing local traffic congestion to slowing global climate change.

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2018-02-14T21:48:25+00:00Categories: ACCESS 36, Spring 2010|Tags: , |

Smarter Parking at Transit Stations

Susan Shaheen and Charlene Kemmerer

Transit stations, such as many of the outlying stations along the BART system in the San Francisco Bay Area, provide parking so riders can easily get to and from the station. At first parking spots at BART stations were free to whoever showed up earliest to park. Then in 2002, BART began offering monthly reservations on some parking spots for a fee, so that riders who couldn’t rush out of the house to arrive at the station before anyone else also had the opportunity to park. Commuters without the monthly permits are faced with a dilemma if they want to take BART and can’t get to the station early. Do they risk deviating from their driving commute route to try to find a spot at the station? If they don’t find one, they will have wasted time and gas, and they’d then have to find their way back to their driving route, now a bit later, and reinsert themselves into the stream of traffic.

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People, Parking, And Cities

Michael Manville and Donald Shoup

The pop culture image of Los Angeles is an ocean of malls, cars, and exit ramps; of humorless tract homes and isolated individuals whose only solace is aimless driving on endless freeways. From Joan Didion to the Sierra Club, LA has been held up as a poster child of sprawl. This is an arresting and romantic narrative, but also largely untrue. To the extent that anyone has a definition of sprawl, it usually revolves around the absence of density, and Los Angeles has since the 1980s been the densest urbanized area in the United States. This would make it the least sprawling city in America. Compared to other US cities, LA also does not have inordinately high rates of automobile ownership.

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2017-05-30T22:31:19+00:00Categories: ACCESS 25, Fall 2004|Tags: , |

Turning Small Change Into Big Changes

Douglas Kolozsvari and Donald Shoup

The money you put into a parking meter seems to vanish into thin air. No one knows where the money goes, and everyone would rather park free, so politicians find it easier to require ample off-street parking than to charge market prices at meters. But if each neighborhood could keep all the parking revenue it generates, a powerful new constituency would emerge—neighborhoods that receive the revenue. Cities can change the politics of parking if they earmark parking revenue for public improvements in the metered neighborhoods.

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2017-05-30T22:45:11+00:00Categories: ACCESS 23, Fall 2003|Tags: , |

Instead of Free Parking

Donald Shoup

We Americans first learn about free parking when we play Monopoly. Players pay rent, buy houses, build hotels, or go to jail after a toss of the dice, and one toss out of forty lands us on “Free Parking.” The odds of landing on free parking increase dramatically when we begin to drive cars because—notwithstanding the experience of commuters in some large cities—American motorists park free on 99 percent of all trips.

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2017-05-31T21:29:05+00:00Categories: ACCESS 15, Fall 1999|Tags: , |

Congress Okays Cash Out

Donald Shoup

Chances are you drive to work alone and park free when you get there. Ninety-one percent of commuters in the United States travel to work by automobile, 92 percent of commuters’ automobiles have only one occupant, and 94 percent of automobile commuters park free at work. Employers provide 85 million free parking spaces for commuters. The resulting tax-exempt parking subsidies are worth $31.5 billion a year.

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