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How Does a College Professor By John Van Horn


Are you a Shoupista? Do you actually know the Shoup-dog?


Don Shoup is speaking tomorrow. The roomis sold out. When Donald C. Shoup, Professor


of Urban Planning at UCLA, published “TheHigh Cost of Free Parking” in 2005, he had little thought of what might be coming. He was taking a radical posi- tion.On-street parking pricing should be set so that it affected the demand. Park- ing requirements by cities should be abandoned. Themoney raised should be returned to the neighborhoods from whence it came. The Professor told Parking Today


in a recent interview: I had two main goals when I wrote


the book. First, I wanted to show that much


planning for parking is wrongheaded and harmful. In particular, I wanted to show thatminimumparking requirements dam- age cities, the economy and the environ- ment. The first 272 pages of the book are essentially an attack on minimum parking requirements, and no one has risen to defend them. Nevertheless, most city plan- ners continue to set minimum parking requirements as though nothing had happened. My second goal was to propose new parking policies. The three


Don Shoup (l) research new products at the Parking Association of Australia last fall in Sydney.


main proposals are to charge fair-market prices for curb parking, to return the revenue to pay for local public services, and to remove off- street parking requirements. Although the planning profession’s lack of interest in reform-


ing off-street parking requirements has been disappointing, I was surprised and delighted by the interest in charging market prices for curb parking. Perhaps it is simply easier to


explain the problems caused by cruising for underpriced curb parking. It also is easier to explain the advantages of fair market prices for curb parking, and many people want new revenue to pay for local public services. I was also surprised and delighted by the large number of invi-


readers that my policy proposals are not theoretical and idealistic, but are instead practical and realistic. The good news about our decades of bad planning for parking is that the damage we have done will be far cheaper to repair than to ignore. Whether by design or not, cities set out to subsidize parking


in their downtown cores. Low-priced or free parkingwas thought necessary to “bring customers into the downtown area,” and to keep constituents happy. The concept of keeping parking cheap or freewas endemic. The pricing model was


Who would have predicted that a 750-page book on parking could be popular enough to reprint as a paperback?


tations to speak about the book in so many places. One explanation for the book’s popularity may be that many people think something has gone seriously wrong with city planning, and they like the exposé of minimum parking requirements as one source of what went wrong. Who would have predicted that a 750-page book on parking


could be popular enough to reprint as a paperback? The paperback is coming out next month, and it will have an update on the reforms, such as SFpark, that have been adopted in response to the book. I hope the progress reported in the paperback will convince


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upside-down. Pricing in surface lots and parking structures, although still relatively inexpen- sive, was more costly than con- venient on-street parking. On- street parking was jammed, and off-street structures and lots had plenty of parking available. Drivers would cruise


around and around looking for cheap on-street parking. In studies his graduate students did in Los Angeles, Shoup


found that as much as one-third of the cars on the street at any one time were cruising an additional five to seven minutes look- ing for parking. “Imagine,” he said. “What if a third of all trafficwas sudden-


ly removed fromcity streets? Think of the reduction in pollution, and in congestion.” Sowe come to the first of Shoup’s trilogy: Set the on-street pricing so that one space is always free


on each block face. Parking Today www.parkingtoday.com


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