Parking Spaces Reduced in Center City Philadelphia—Along With Parking Occupancy

Philadelphia is providing a living case study of the tenants of the Donald Shoup-approach to parking.
January 1, 2016, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Jon Geeting reports on a parking inventory of Center City Philadelphia released recently by the city's Planning Commission. The inventory produces a few findings that reconcile with contemporary thinking about parking, in line with the lessons of Donald Shoup.

The inventory, produced every five years, tracks the effects of a wave of construction in Center City, which reduced the number of off-street public parking spaces by 3,623, or 7.2 percent. Geeting explains the potentially surprising effect of the reduced parking:

"One might guess that losing more than 3,600 parking spaces in a five year span would drive up occupancy rates in the remaining lots and garages, but on the whole this hasn't been the case. Counterintuitively, parking occupancy actually declined by 1.7 percent during this period, from 75.6 percent down to 73.9 percent." 

To more explicitly call out the kind of people who doubt the contemporary planning wisdom about parking, Geeting adds this passage later in the article:

"The idea that building more parking capacity will only increase the number of cars in a neighborhood, or conversely, that removing parking spaces can reduce the number of cars often gets short shrift at neighborhood zoning meetings, but the evidence here suggests this is basically how things work."

The article goes into a lot more detail about the inventory's findings, and also ties back to some of the politics of parking in the city—including how it has brought about the city's ongoing lack of dynamic parking pricing.

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Published on Thursday, December 31, 2015 in Plan Philly
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