Updating the Book on Parking Reform

A Donald Shoup devotee offers new insight into the problems and solutions associated with parking in Los Angeles and other cities. Urban Planning professor Richard Willson says it'll cost you, but parking systems are going to get more efficient.
September 1, 2013, 7am PDT | Alek Miller
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"'No one likes to pay for parking but residents are going to pay for it in other ways,' he says over coffee at Café le Leche on York Boulevard in Highland Park. Even if you find a 'free' parking spot, it’s not free, contends Willson who says that the true cost of free parking dominoes into higher rents/mortgages for developers and tenants not to mention merchants who, in turn, raise prices on goods and services and often lower workers’ wages. Plus, studies show that free parking creates more single drivers, adds to pollution, contributes to congestion as we cruise for curb parking, and well, the list of ills goes on."

Although these ideas have been well-established, Willson's new book, Parking Reform Made Easy, builds on the foundation laid by Shoup. His book includes parking reform success stories that have been implemented since The High Cost of Free Parking was published in 2005, writes Brenda Rees.

"Willson discusses the future of paid parking in the form of the ubiquitous parking meter. Cities, he says, are seeing good use of meters these days thanks to a federal grant which allowed them to swap out coin-only for the ease of credit card. No more fumbling around for quarters. Swipe and go."

"Technology won’t stop there, says Willson. He’s seen the future and in the works are meters that — via smartphones – can contact you when the meter is going to expire. In addition, you could then pay for addition time on the meter remotely with your smart phone thus extending your evening at your favorite restaurant or bar."

"'It's all about making parking easier for everyone,' he says. But, as he said earlier, it won’t be free."

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Published on Thursday, August 8, 2013 in The Eastsider LA
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