No Excuses For Not Charging For Parking

Transportation consultant Jeff Tumlin admits that it's no easy job to convince people (let alone political leaders) that it's in their best interest, and that of their community, that parking should not be free. New technology may be the ticket.
October 24, 2011, 5am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Tumlin explains its not just the cutting-edge technology that SF Park and other 'performance parking' programs use that notifies drivers when a parking space is free, and can adjust rates to get to ensure an 85% occupancy rate that parking guru Don Shoup advocates. A simple pay station or meter that accepts credit cards makes parking rate increases much more tolerated by the public, sparing city councils their wrath.

All this technology "has made it even more embarrassing for the cities that are badly managing their parking."

But pricing is not only important to effective management of a city's parking supply, Tumlin explains.

"You can create an enormous net public equity benefit by charging for parking," he says. "The real argument is that there is nothing more inequitable than our current policies of providing gross subsidies to the wealthiest and most privileged members of society, who are the people who own the most cars."

Thanks to Mike Bullock

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Published on Thursday, October 20, 2011 in the Atlantic Cities: Place matters
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