"No one goes there any more it's too crowded" Yogi Berra
How often do we hear people complain about too much traffic and not enough parking? Parking is a scarce resource and, like any other resource, is subject to the laws of supply and demand. When parking is priced correctly, the cost of parking signals to drivers the relative value of different spaces, which encourages more efficient use of the overall parking supply.
When parking is not priced correctly we end up with either too much or too little parking. Too little parking results in "cruising" for parking
Free or under-priced parking causes people to...
-->park in the most valuable spaces (the most convenient), when they could park and walk from a less valuable space farther away
-->park during peak periods when they could travel at another time of day
-->drive and park instead of taking transit, walking, or biking to a destination
-->park in spaces better suited for customers (employees)
-->spend time looking for cheap or free curbside parking-- which wastes gas, creates air and noise pollution and unnecessary traffic congestion.
-->store vehicles for months or years without using them-- making it harder for people with more urgent parking needs to find a parking space
-->pay for parking spaces they actually never use through taxes and higher prices for products and housing
If parking costs more, what options are available?
Reduce time parked
Park further away for less and walk/ bike
Park at a different time of day when rates are less
Carpool and split the cost of parking
Park off street
Make trip on transit by bicycle or by walking
What will we do with the money?
Parking reform must be revenue neutral or dedicated to a popular project that benefits the whole community. When discussing changes to parking policy some will object that charging for parking amounts to a "new tax". It is critical to engage the community to discuss how the funds generated can benefit the community through either funding specific popular programs or reducing taxes.
For examples of this read this excellent paper: Big Changes from Small Change
Got a Parking Problem?
Good Parking Policies
Returning Parking Revenues to the Community