Priced parking is fair and effective at lowering car use

New research out of California looks at the effect of priced parking on commuter mode choice and transportation costs for low-income households. Findings from two studies suggest raising the price of commuter parking by 10 percent could lower car use by as much as three percentage points and, while residential parking permits could hit low-income households hardest, few households would be disproportionately affected. Moreover, revenues from paid parking could offset any potential burden.

Overabundant parking fuels car-oriented living in greater Boston

A new report from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council reveals 30 percent of residential parking in the Boston area goes unused at night. This new study builds on an earlier report, featured in an SSTI webinar, growing the sample from 80 properties to 189 across 14 municipalities throughout the city’s inner core. The additional data also let MAPC test for significant factors affecting parking demand. MAPC estimates that the 5,910 empty spaces in their study represent $94.5 million in development costs, or roughly $5,000 per housing unit.

What’s the best policy for managing spillover parking?

A new study suggests that while minimum and maximum parking requirements can be effective in some ways at managing spillover parking, they are anything but a one-size-fits-all approach. Using economic models, researchers tested the effects of different pricing and regulatory policies on nearby residents, local shoppers, and non-local shoppers of an urban mall or other major retailer. They found that regulating the supply of on-site parking is only effective if the retailer has enough market power to adjust the price of goods, and even more so when parking is also priced accordingly.

Chicago parking concession big win for investors, hard on curb management

In 2008 the city of Chicago made a deal to allow a private company to run and receive all revenues from parking meters. The concession has been widely denounced as a bad deal for taxpayers. Critics of the deal often point to the missed opportunity of parking revenue. Others note that the concession makes the city less nimble when implementing innovative curbside solutions for transit, cycling, and placemaking. Recent analysis shows how the deal is working out for the city and private investors.

Parking, ride-hailing, and shifting traveler needs

According to a new study out of Denver, one-quarter of ride-hailing trips replace driving, which reduces the need for parking, particularly at specific land uses. Difficulty parking is also a key reason people are shifting to ride-hailing services, which suggests that places where parking is most difficult or expensive can expect a shift in demand to curbside pickup and drop off.

ITE takes on parking minimums and manuals

Once considered a pure public good, parking is now known as a public problem as well. Among other drawbacks, it occupies valuable land and curb space, and it encourages auto trips and emissions, in part by spreading out destinations so that non-auto travel is difficult. The Institute of Traffic Engineers—whose Parking Generation Manual once epitomized the more-is-better approach to parking—in February’s ITE Journal describes thoughtful new approaches for better managing parking supply and incorporating more active transportation and transit trips.

Washington, DC, improves parking and traffic with “asset-lite” pricing program

Washington, DC, just released the results from its four-year pilot program, parkDC, which applied dynamic pricing for on-street parking in Penn Quarter and Chinatown. Based on its success, the city is now working to expand the program beyond the pilot area. The program, which built upon the earlier success of those like San Francisco’s SFpark, achieved similar results with fewer resources.

Planners reevaluate parking requirements for affordable housing

The most recent issue of Planning, the magazine of the American Planning Association, examines how cutting parking requirements can also improve the supply of affordable housing. Both cities and developers are recognizing that new projects may require significantly fewer spaces in the future as people eschew car ownership in favor of transit, ridesharing, carsharing, and non-motorized transportation options. Several cities have found that by reducing the requirements for expensive parking in buildings, the cost for the residential units is also reduced.

States and Feds explore solutions to truck parking shortfall

Federally mandated driver rest periods are coming up against a truck parking shortfall, and leaving drivers scrambling to find legal parking, or park illegally. When drivers need to rest, but cannot find suitable parking, they may choose to park in unsafe or illegal locations such as roadway shoulders or entrance and exit ramps. Several states are trying to solve this problem.

U.S. cities and developers beleaguered by too much parking, Mortgage Bankers report finds

There are 83,141 households in the city of Des Moines, and 1.6 million parking stalls. Even allowing that some of those stalls are occupied by commuters, that’s a pretty staggering disparity. And even accounting for commuters, peak parking occupancy rates are only 65 percent downtown. These are some of the eye-opening findings from a new Mortgage Bankers Association report on parking supply in American cities. The report argues that localities should do their own parking inventories rather than rely on rules of thumb for parking needs and risk squandering resources.