To Reduce Driving, Put a Real Price on Parking

Today on the Streetsblog Network, Roger Valdez of Worldchanging
examines whether making parking more difficult can actually reduce
driving levels — and recalls the frustration he used to feel before he
was able to jettison his car:

9972_largearticlephoto.jpgPhoto by functoruser via Flickr.

[F]rankly,
one of the things I enjoy the most about not having a car is being free
from the hassle of finding a place to park it.

If there is one thing that motivated me to change my driving
habits it was the increasing challenge of parking. I used to think that
there was a conspiracy to eliminate, one by one, every last available
on-street parking spot.  There actually is a plan.
A
major part of Seattle’s strategy to deal with parking is to reduce
demand by encouraging people to choose convenient options for getting
around besides cars. And beyond my intuition that it works there is
some evidence to back up the idea.

According to a review of regional modeling studies done a few years ago by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute,
parking has a significant impact on reducing VMT.  Their review showed
that land use and transit policies have very little effect on VMT by
themselves unless they include complementary policies that put a price
on parking. Free or cheap parking tends to support more driving.

We’ve also got a post from Veracity‘s
"Year with Jane Jacobs" project, which is examining Jacobs’s ideas from
every angle. Today, the subject is how Jacobs viewed the Interstate
Highway System as part of a shortsighted post-Depression drive to
prioritize full employment above all other considerations. Interesting
stuff, especially in these times of stimulus. Also, Trains for America looks at the latest attacks on Amtrak, and Copenhagenize urges Londoners to bike the Tube strike.

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