Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

john_denver

"High Cost of Free Parking"

Recommended Posts


I haven't read the book but have done quite a bit of research on the subject and have read excerpts from the book. Donald Shoup (the author) is "the expert" on parking issues.

His message is pretty clear......

Parking is heavily subsidized.

Ample, free parking (which is pretty much everywhere) deters transit use, walking and cycling and is a HUGE inducement to drive absolutely everywhere.

He has done studies showing charging employees for parking leads to a reduction in solo commuting. Also, when given a choice of free parking or a cash option, some employees will take the cash and change commute modes.

There's a great article (illustrating the effects of parking) on the Moscone Center (Concert Hall) in San Francisco and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. San Francisco built the Moscone Center WITHOUT any parking requirements...LA's Disney Hall has a huge, heavilly subsidized subterranean lot. After concerts, people stream out of SF's Moscone center onto the streets and go to restaurants, shops, coffee houses etc. as they walk to public transportation or distant parking garages. This obviously adds to vibrant streets, enhancing safety. In LA, people take the escalator/elevator down into the parking structure and never step foot on the street. The streets don't have half the foot traffic, that SF's do.

Free parking has a huge cost, most people just don't understand it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the summary FarAway, sounds like interesting research Shoup has done. I totally agree with the San Francisco/LA example you gave.

Talking about Seattle again, something I always do because Seattle does so many things right, their public transportation makes their downtown ecomomy thrive...no question! Parking is a major pain in downtown Seattle but their transit system is a gem, easy. I took a 20 minute bus ride each day from my home in north Seattle to work downtown. I would always get off 5 or 6 bus stops early just to walk it. I was always shelling out money for coffee, sandwhices, newspapers, etc. So were 100s of other people. After work, I walked the same 5 or 6 bus stops. Many times I would find myself stopping for a drink or dinner along the way. Seattle was not good for my savings account but the local economy sure benefited:)

I could have found a way to drive to work everyday but I never would have stopped along the way to purchase the things I did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since we only have a few months of warm weather here would a lack of close, surface parking deter many people from coming downtown? How many people would stand out in the cold through several bus stops then walk several blocks to get to their restaurant when they can drive right up to their restaurant in the suburbs and get dropped off at the front door?

Before I had any clue about urban development I loved the skywalks downtown. I can park in the Grand Plaza ramp and take the skywalk all the way to the arena, rain or snow. I understand now how that hurts the street life that we desire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Talking about Seattle again, something I always do because Seattle does so many things right, their public transportation makes their downtown ecomomy thrive...no question! Parking is a major pain in downtown Seattle but their transit system is a gem, easy. I took a 20 minute bus ride each day from my home in north Seattle to work downtown. I would always get off 5 or 6 bus stops early just to walk it. I was always shelling out money for coffee, sandwhices, newspapers, etc. So were 100s of other people. After work, I walked the same 5 or 6 bus stops. Many times I would find myself stopping for a drink or dinner along the way. Seattle was not good for my savings account but the local economy sure benefited:)

Great story--Sure sounds much more interesting than driving to big box stores and chain restaurants in the suburbs. Just imagine what would happen to your urban experience if they built massive parking structures all over downtown to make it easier for suburbanites to get downtown--as most cities have done. It changes the whole experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since we only have a few months of warm weather here would a lack of close, surface parking deter many people from coming downtown? How many people would stand out in the cold through several bus stops then walk several blocks to get to their restaurant when they can drive right up to their restaurant in the suburbs and get dropped off at the front door?

Before I had any clue about urban development I loved the skywalks downtown. I can park in the Grand Plaza ramp and take the skywalk all the way to the arena, rain or snow. I understand now how that hurts the street life that we desire.

The cold weather doesn't seem to bother residents of other cold weather cities like Madison, Indianapolis, Chicago, etc. It just depends on what the local government wants to promote. If it's a car culture, like Grand Rapids, then parking and bigger roads is going to be the primary focus for transportation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to pick up this book to see if it addresses the concept of "Rock Star Parking" --- basically, some people will not drive to certain places unless they can get a "Rock Star" parking spot right in front of the establishment.

This is also known as "Princess Parking" and host of other names... anybody have other good ways to describe this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To park or not to park?

Does any one know if there ever has been a "Bike to Work Day" here in Grand Rapids?

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR have them once a summer. The company I worked for even let us come in late that day and provided lunch for those who rode their bikes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another great book that covers the same problem in greater depth is Suburban Nation. It also gets into some of the deeper problems with the American lifestyle, like how the focus on suburban subdevelopnments is destroying any community bonds that neighbors once had, forcing the elderly into retirement homes, etc.

Amazon link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another great book that covers the same problem in greater depth is Suburban Nation. It also gets into some of the deeper problems with the American lifestyle, like how the focus on suburban subdevelopnments is destroying any community bonds that neighbors once had, forcing the elderly into retirement homes, etc.

Amazon link

I read that book. I can't say it was any better than the classics (Jacobs, Garreau, etc.) in the genre, but it was pretty good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While we are on the subject, what do you all think of James Howard Kunstler?

He gave a lecture in Grand Rapids a few years ago.

I like his blunt sarcastic humor about the perils of a growing suburbia and decaying urban structure. Some his ideas are a bit extreme but I like the fact he raises issues that few people consider.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While we are on the subject, what do you all think of James Howard Kunstler?

He gave a lecture in Grand Rapids a few years ago.

I like his blunt sarcastic humor about the perils of a growing suburbia and decaying urban structure. Some his ideas are a bit extreme but I like the fact he raises issues that few people consider.

Here's my take on Kunstler. He's great at stating all of the problems but offers little in terms of solutions. He spoke at my college in Georgia. I was less then impressed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While we are on the subject, what do you all think of James Howard Kunstler?

He gave a lecture in Grand Rapids a few years ago.

I like his blunt sarcastic humor about the perils of a growing suburbia and decaying urban structure. Some his ideas are a bit extreme but I like the fact he raises issues that few people consider.

The Geography of Nowhere was great. I saw him speak in Portland, OR a long time ago. I think his sarcastic views rubbed off a little too much on me. I don't have much hope for our urban future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's my take on Kunstler. He's great at stating all of the problems but offers little in terms of solutions. He spoke at my college in Georgia. I was less then impressed.

I totally agree that he does not offer too many solutions.

He is more of a conversation starter than a finisher.

Sometimes I have to ask myself where he's coming from.

He does present some fundamental urban issues that should be discussed by all...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally agree that he does not offer too many solutions.

He is more of a conversation starter than a finisher.

Sometimes I have to ask myself where he's coming from.

He does present some fundamental urban issues that should be discussed by all...

When he does offer solutions, they are grossly simplified, such as "stop subsidizing sprawl" or "get rid of use-based zoning." Well, its not as easy as he wishes it is. It would be like telling a poor person to stop being so poor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree what everyone is saying about his lack of solutions, but I have to credit him with one thing: he was the one who go me thinking about urban living and how the automobile is destroying basically everything. If it wasn't for Geography of Nowhere, I might be living in a suburb someplace :sick: .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another great book that covers the same problem in greater depth is Suburban Nation. It also gets into some of the deeper problems with the American lifestyle, like how the focus on suburban subdevelopnments is destroying any community bonds that neighbors once had, forcing the elderly into retirement homes, etc.

Amazon link

I think there's a lot more truth to this than you might realize. I never thought of it until you brought it up but it is so true. I'm a paramedic here in GR and cover everything from the inner-city to the rural. It amazes me when we respond to an urban neighborhood how people come out of the woodwork to help. The elderly are respected by the neighborhood kids and everybody wants to help.

A good example is a simple "I've fallen and I can't get up" call. Elderly person slip out of their chair and can't get up. In the urban neighborhoods they call a neighbor to come help first before calling us. In the suburbs they call us because their kids live somewhere else and they don't know their neighbors.

Many elderly people in urban neighborhoods have neighbors that stop over everyday to check on them, bring them food, etc. Not true in the suburbs.

Interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.