Low rent for metal tenants
I pay approximately $4.36 per square foot per month for my apartment. But to park my car right outside, if I comply with alternate side parking rules, costs zero.
On Thursday, 11 pm, I found a space that I can stay in until 9 am Tuesday - 82 hours, or 11.39% of a month. A typical parking space is 20 feet by 8 feet, or 160 square feet. Rent on 160 square feet for 11.39% of a month in the neighborhood should cost $79.44, but it costs zero.
Meanwhile, the garage on the block charges $485/month for a monthly space; 11.39% of that is about $55.
$79.44 for residential space, $55 for paid parking space, $0 on the side of most residential streets. But to find one of these spaces can require driving around to find it, anywhere from one minute (this past time, when I found the space easily) or 30 minutes (a week ago) or more. Why are we subsidizing certain drivers, who happen to find spaces, to store their cars for free for days while others can't find anywhere to park?
Donald Shoup, author of The High Cost of Free Parking and a leading thinker in challenging traditional urban planning dogma on parking, points out how basic Economics 101 suggests the proper way to price parking: high enough that there are always a few spaces available, so someone looking for a space can find out quickly, but low enough that there are only a few spaces available.
In this article in Planetizen, Shoup uses a target of 85% occupancy as the right threshold, and discusses how to build support from local merchants in business districts by returning the extra revenue to improving the business district. According to the article, Redwood City, California already prices its parking to target 85% occupancy; I've parked in Redwood City, and from what I can tell, it works - it's not that hard to find parking downtown, but all the spaces have meters that charge a reasonable fee.
Would Shoup's principles work as well for a residential urban neighborhood like the Upper West Side? Austin is trying it. If the community could charge a nominal rate for using its free parking spaces and receive revenue to benefit the community, would there be support?
- Bikeshare is a gateway to private biking, not competition
- Judge denies injunction against closing schools
- Short-term Washingtonians deserve a voice, too
- Long-term closures: A solution to single-tracking?
- Public land deals have both benefits and pitfalls
- Metro policy for refunds after delays falls short, riders say
- PG planners propose bold new smart growth future