Imagining the Curb Zones of the Not So Distant Future

Five panelists discussed the future of curbside parking and agree that there are technological and financial incentives to change priorities for these spaces.

2 minute read

November 6, 2020, 6:00 AM PST

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery

Outdoor Dining

James Kirkikis / Shutterstock

A panel of transportation and logistics experts at the Vision Zero Cities Conference by Transportation Alternatives predicted continued and long-lasting changes in the way curbs, sidewalks, and curbside parking spaces are organized, managed, and prioritized. Since the incremental reopening of restaurants and other amenities since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, space formerly dedicated to private vehicles is increasingly finding alternative uses.

But we have more than the coronavirus to thank for these shifting behaviors and innovations in the use of parking spaces. "That hopeful future might seem like a far-off dream for those who have sat through interminable community-board meetings where people have fought over the last inch of parking. But it’s probably achievable in the next 10 to 15 years — because technology and financial incentives will drive it," writes Eve Kessler, describing the panelists' insights. 

Dynamic usage for curbside usage, according to the five panelists, will also make streets safer by reducing instances of vehicles stopping in bike lanes. The speakers heightened that technology could help drivers identify parking and avoid similarly dangerous situations. "Dawn Miller, head of policy and partnerships at the data firm Coord, said that mobile apps would soon direct deliverers — not just those in trucks, but also those in smaller vehicles — to available spaces in the last mile before a stop. Such precision would help eliminate hazards like parking in bike or bus lanes," reports Kessler. 

Discussion about pricing for curb space is ongoing. Large delivery companies and small businesses alike stand to benefit from priced curb zones. "Pricing the curb would entail a balancing act for different users, the panelists agreed. Persons with disabilities, for example, should have complimentary access," Kessler writes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 in StreetsBlog NYC

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

Close-up of red and white BUS LANE sign painted in street lane.

Why BRT Can Benefit Cities More Than Rail

Bus rapid transit lines offer a less expensive, quicker-build alternative to rail that can bring other infrastructure improvements with it.

45 minutes ago - Governing

Two-story homes on residential street in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

British Columbia Cracks Down on Short-Term Rentals

Provincial leaders say the new rules could open up as many as 19,000 units for long-term rental.

June 20 - CTV

Small backyard cottage with gabled roof in San Diego, California.

San Diego Sees Continued Growth in ADU Permits

Recent changes to regulations have made it easier and more affordable for homeowners to build ‘granny flats,’ and San Diego’s housing stock is benefiting.

June 20 - Axios San Diego

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.