Archive for August 16, 2010

Contrasting priorities: what’s your backyard look like?

August 16, 2010 3 comments

Contrasting Priorities

Two backyards; two houses removed from one another in almost any neighborhood in Traverse City. One backyard devoted to producing food, shelter and relaxation, the other backyard devoted to parking cars as close as possible to the backdoor. Both with front yard parking.

There are costs to our choices.


We’re all subsidizing parking and it ain’t cheap

August 16, 2010 3 comments

NOTE: Originally posted Aug. 16, 2010, posted as a sticky Dec. 6, 2012. Previous post in this sticky series: Got Parking? Hell Yeah.


Monday’s Quote

“Minimum parking requirements act like a fertility drug for cars.”

~Donald C. Shoup, “The High Cost of Free Parking

Minimum parking requirements, by cities, developers and financial institutions, set parking capacities to handle peak demands and one result is an over built environment. As well, it leads to one of the most cited findings in Shoup’s book, that 99% of all automobile trips end in free parking. What the findings, and the title of the book suggest, is that it is only a small portion of the story. Parking simply isn’t free. Even parking in your driveway has costs.

Basic maintenance, like seal coating, is only the beginning & one of the most obvious costs of parking (photo: GLHowe)

We all subsidize parking, even if you never drive. We do so financially and in opportunity costs that ‘serve the automobile’. This feeds into a system that dictates consequential planning & priorities that otherwise could be focused on development for people, not their 2-ton transportation tools. According to Shoup, we subsidize parking in ever-increasing sums totaling in the billions of dollars ($127 billion in 2002 NYTimes).

One result, is more cars trips.

Traverse City, like many cities, is beholden to systems, cultures and politics that demand cheap, abundant, front-door parking. It includes territorial claims by the vocal and egocentric demands of business owners & residents; people who simply don’t want to ‘over-think‘ the issue & view parking as a right, despite the externalities associated with it. The financing system also encourages the building of things like parking decks as ‘development’, but sees no value in building community capital based on life away from the car.  Just try to remove parking from a new development!

Streetfilms recently sat down with Shoup to talk about parking in New York. The big cities are where his policies should be the easiest sell, as the density and land values already dictate a high rate of transit and active transportation. Yet, resistance is everywhere and smart parking policy is often watered down or pushed back another 10 years, every 10 years. This includes Traverse City.

An introduction to Parking (with a New York focus)

UPDATE: There is also an excellent Radio interview from Change Radio with Professor Shoup with this great quote:

When it comes to parking, staunch conservatives become ardent communists.

I’m still looking for a copy of The High Cost of Fee Parking to borrow.

Any other Shoupistas out there with a copy? 

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