A New Era of On-Street Parking Policies

The influence of Donald Shoup's classic book, "The High Cost of Free Parking," is becoming more and more apparent in more and more cities around the country.

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February 5, 2016, 8:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Franco Nadalin / Shutterstock

"A handful of major cities across the U.S. are changing how they charge for some of the most valuable property they manage — on-street parking spaces," writes Rebecca Beitsch to introduce an article for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Beitsch notes that for a long time, cities haven't valued on-street parking as much as drivers have. That is all changing, however:

Now, some major cities are seeking to take advantage of their supply and motorists’ demand with so-called demand-price parking. Rather than charge a flat rate for each spot in every area of the city, they are demanding motorists pay $4, $6 or up to $8 an hour for a spot on a busy street, close to shops and restaurants, while keeping hourly prices lower on less busy streets just a few blocks over.

Beitsch is describing the tenants of parking as revolutionized by Donald Shoup, as Planetizen readers are aware, while also adding a survey of the cities undertaking new approaches to the pricing of on-street parking. Programs in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle are mentioned—each citied for unique insights into the new practices of parking management. Beitsch also deliberately addresses common concerns about the new parking programs—like if they are harmful to the poor and whether or not they achieve their intended outcomes.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 in Pew Charitable Trusts


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