Goldilocks principle of paid parking

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

by: Qurius

Economists from Harvard to UCLA have pointed out for years that free parking has many hidden costs and causes congestion and problematic development patterns. The godfather of modern parking management, UCLA professor Don Shoup, wrote the book “The High Cost of Free Parking” and advises cities all over the world on how to improve parking.

His recommendations boil down to:

  • First, cities should charge the right price for curb parking, so that about 15% of spaces are vacant. That way, motorists will always be able to find one or two open curb spaces per block, and no one will cruise. We can call this the Goldilocks principle. If no curb spaces are vacant, the price is too low, and if many spaces are vacant, the price is too high. If about 15% of the spaces are vacant, the price is just right.
  • Second, cities should return all the increased meter revenue to the metered districts. The parking revenues can pay to clean and repair the sidewalks, light the streets, remove graffiti, plant trees, provide security and put utility wires underground in the metered districts. These public improvements will attract even more customers, some of whom will walk from the surrounding neighborhoods.
Goldilocks Principle

No one wants to pay for parking — that will not change — but if cities spend the revenue to pay for public services next to the parked cars, many people will begin to see the advantages of charging for parking.

Liberal extract from Your Observer - paid parking is our friend.