How to create places for pedestrians…

Ever notice that taking pictures of streetlife without having cars in the way is often much easier in other countries? Or that some of the most popular streets in the U.S. (and the world) are pedestrian-only?

There is a demand for these kinds of people-oriented places, but the supply of auto-oriented places far exceeds them. Why? Because, as economist Donald Shoup states in his newly published book, The High Cost of Parking, city governments decree that parking be free, and it’s making everything else expensive.

The solution is simple – have parking pay for itself with a market-based pricing system he devised. Here are some of Shoup’s findings:

– The average parking space costs more than the average car
– The total subsidy for parking is about the size of the Medicare or national defense budgets.
– An Oakland, CA study found that requiring one parking space per residence increased housing costs by 18% and reduced density by 30%…
– Based on the previous point, the person who walks to a movie theater is paying $9.50 instead of $8 in order to cover the cost of parking for the person who drives there. Apply to just about everything else you buy, which is one reason why online prices are less.

Shoup’s pricing system is based on having 15% of parking spaces vacant. For many, paying a few dollars is worth the half hour of frustration trying to find a space.

Read more about Shoup’s principles applied to parking codes here, and what the press and other people are saying here.

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