Parking and the City by Donald C. Shoup

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Posted 2018-12-12

People PlacesBook Notes by John December

This book summarizes and builds on Donald Shoup's previously published book, The High Cost of Free Parking, which has been widely hailed as a groundbreaking work re-examining parking policies in cities ("Shoup's 2005 Book Earns Place in Planning History"). Parking and the City extends this coverage of parking economics and includes chapters by a new generation of voices that are taking Dr. Shoup's ideas forward with new research.

The first feature of Parking and the City is its summary introduction of 55 pages that reviews, in a more compact form, the main points of The High Cost of Free Parking.

Following the introduction, the book's sections include chapters on the three major parking reforms that are Shoup's thesis:

  1. Part I: Remove Off-Street Parking Requirements
  2. Part II: Charge the Right Prices For On-Street Parking
  3. Part III: Parking Benefits Districts
The book includes photos, graphs, diagrams, and maps which illustrate the main points.

In Part I, Shoup reveals the lies put out by the Institute of Transportation Engineers regarding parking requirements--simply put, the ITE puts out numbers that have tenuous scientific and logical backing. Other chapters cover the consequences of "free parking," environmental impact of parking lots, affordable housing, unintended consequences, the hidden cost of bundled parking, and parking policy. The parking glut in LA (pp. 177-182) is covered as well as the decision by one of the world's largest cities to get rid of parking minimums and get "less off-street Parking, More Mexico City" (pp. 183-190).

Part II covers charging the "right prices" for parking. Issues such as cruising, placard abuse, fines, prices, lean demand management, SFpark, and market-priced parking are reviewed. The lessons learned in San Francisco from observing people cruising for parking are examined as well as ideas for optimizing public garages, LA Express Park, campus parking, and cashing out employer paid parking.

Part III looks at using the money collected from parking to be used to benefit the districts in which it is collected. These chapters look at Old Pasadena, Ventura, Houston, Austin, Mexico City, Beijing, and residential parking districts.

Seldom does an academic book have an impact as much as Shoup's The High Cost of Free Parking, but Shoup's latest effort, Parking and the City, has even more impact since it gathers research since the 2005 book, concisely summarizes the 2005 book, and introduces the voices of a new generation taking part in the conversation about parking.

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