Today’s Headlines

Get National Headlines At Streetsblog USA
Get State Headlines At Streetsblog CA

  • Asher Of LA

    The parking proposals sound pretty good. Parking should not be treated as a revenue generator, but even if it is, fines are a lot more wasteful in generating revenue than proper prices. Fines mostly exist to enforce time limits, which they mostly fail to do, and time limits only exist because the prices aren’t high enough to leave a few spots open – time limits were introduced to induce turnover of spots and make parking more available, which also failed to occur.

    The whole practice of ‘re-feeding the meter’ defeats the original purpose of time limits. Any rational parking program dispenses with time limits, and customers prefer it.

    See http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/09/18/Pittsburgh-parking-tickets-down-revenue-up-as-drivers-use-pay-stations/stories/201409180276
    and
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB117045989846496728?alg=y

    One minor caveat:

    Parking ticket fines have to reflect the cost of the space, in some way. If you have a $5 an hour space, a $23 ticket is fairly cheap. A flat parking fee may not be appropriate; maybe 8-10 times the going hourly rate or $23, whichever is higher (for the typical meter rates of $1-2 per hour, the fine would still be $23). I imagine most meters won’t get that expensive, so the problem will be limited in scope.

  • ubrayj02

    The city should also give out free ice cream to drivers. That shouldn’t be a revenue generator either! The city should lose money on that one as well.

  • Asher Of LA

    When the city treats it as a revenue generator, the prices are too high, the spots are empty, doing nothing for anyone. It would reduce flow to local shops, reducing tax revenue. Plus, drivers may get angry and then eliminate the meters or get their prices massively reduced, bringing back all the problems and congestion of cheap/free parking.

    I’m all in favor of allowing parking to be converted for other uses (eg sidewalk dining), but there isn’t much point to devoting land to parking and then pricing it so high its empty.

  • ubrayj02

    The city should also offer a free buff and wax job to every car parked in town too, along with the free ice cream. It would be bad for business if we didn’t hand out free ice cream and car waxing service.

    Donald Shoup, The High Cost of Free Parking. I think you can download it as a .pdf these days.

    Car parking and business interests – sometimes they come together, and sometimes they diverge. Charging for parking, and charging what it is worth, helps pay for the expensive infrastructure we all depend on.

  • Asher Of LA

    Except Shoup doesn’t advocate pricing parking above what demand will bear.

  • ubrayj02

    No argument from me on that count.