Monday, October 25, 2010

What to look forward to at Reinventing Parking

What to look forward to at Reinventing Parking
What parking issues and ideas can you expect to find here in coming months?

I am back from a break and will be getting back into regular posting here. To kick things off again, here is a little preview of parking issues I hope to tackle here soon.

Tips on any of these topics would be helpful! Topic requests are also welcome.

A parking curiosity: Median parking in Melbourne's CBD
  • Does parking-free housing require car-free residents? My answer: not really.
  • Which level of government controls on-street parking policy? You might be surprised how this works in some countries.
  • Eric Bruun's and Vukan Vuchic's "Time-Area" perspective on the space-efficiency of transport modes highlights the importance of parking, especially work parking
  • Herman Knoflacher's ideas on parking policy go beyond his 'Gehzeug' (or walkmobile) stunts
  • Japan's unusual approach to minimum parking requirements: They are low. They exempt most small buildings. And they phase in gradually for medium-sized buildings.
  • Can Elinor Ostrom's Nobel Prize-winning ideas on the collective management of common pool resources shed light on parking? Short answer: almost certainly, yes.
  • Does performance-based parking pricing require high-tech?
  • Why does parking space so often NOT count as part of the allowable gross floor area (GFA) of buildings which is limited under zoning ordinances? Should it? How powerfully do such exemptions incentivize excessive parking supply?
  • The influence of land value taxation and property taxes on parking supply. The lack of land value taxation is another powerful force for excessive parking supply in most cities.
  • Parking, trams and traffic flow. Melbourne's 'clearways' controversy
  • Westminster's 'Easyjet' style parking pricing experience (if I can find any recent information! Help anyone? How did it go?)
  • The debate over time limits versus pricing for turnover
  • More in the Parking (r)evolution in Bogotá series from Carlos Pardo. His first post was very popular!
  • More guest posts from other folks I hope.
  • Exploring the strange thinking that makes parking price regulation seem logical
  • Parking meters (and other on-street parking payment systems) around the world
  • Surprise! Parking maximums don't cap parking
  • Office-building minimum parking requirements in international perspective
  • A call for community studies of 'cruising for parking'. New York City's Transportation Alternatives has shown how. Their method could be copied easily.
  • Is residential parking fair game for pricing solutions?
  • More on the implications of the India Supreme Court's recent ruling on parking
  • More in the "Parking basics" series. Look out for posts on: convertibility; shared parking; reducing kerb cuts (or curb cuts or 'cross-overs'); unbundling.
  • Another series idea:  "Unhelpful parking policy terms, phrases and platitudes". How about 'Free Parking' and 'Spillover' for starters?
  • Housing affordability in Asia (looking into the parking policy connections obviously)
  • Does performance-based parking pricing really frighten away customers?
  • A closer look at proof-of-parking regulations, like Japan's
  • Form-based codes and parking reform: missed opportunities?
  • Parking and car-sharing
1 comment

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Parking (r)evolution in Bogotá: The Golden Era, 1998-2000

Parking (r)evolution in Bogotá: The Golden Era, 1998-2000
This is the first of a guest series on parking policy in Bogotá by Carlosfelipe Pardo of Slow Research (site in Spanish).

Update: The second post in this series is here

Parking is missing from most accounts of Bogotá’s urban revolution
Much has been said about Enrique Peñalosa’s “urban revolution” when he was mayor of Bogotá, Colombia during 1998-2000. It is well known that he developed the world-renowned BRT system TransMilenio. It is also well known that he developed an aggressive agenda of public space recovery, sidewalk building and cycleway construction.

However, little is known about the parking revolution that his administration also started. This series of posts will describe parking achievements and decisions in that era and since then. Today’s post focuses on key parking changes under Peñalosa himself.

Public space for the people
Enrique Peñalosa’s main goal during his mandate was to generate equity in the use of public space. He saw that automobiles were taking away almost all space from pedestrians and other public space users, so he sought to recover as much space as possible for people, taking it away from cars. He also recovered space that had been illegally occupied by vendors, street hawkers, and even formal condos around the entire city.

Photo 1: A ‘mud street’ - paved for non-motorized use but unpaved for motor vehicles! Peñalosa's philosophy meant that, if little money was available, it should be invested in sidewalks rather than roads. Photo by Carlosfelipe Pardo
When a road was to be built in any neighborhood, he would build a wider and higher-quality sidewalk with the same money (the message was: if money is not enough, spend it on pedestrians). These efforts resulted in 77,764 square meters of public space recovery, and 863,143 square meters of newly built public space during the 3-years of his mandate.

The taming of on-street parking
An even more aggressive and contested method of recovering public space was to reclaim on-street parking space. Even though many citizens were complaining about the invasion of sidewalks and public space by parked cars, it was incredibly difficult to implement such a policy. In fact, at one point Peñalosa was at risk of being impeached, primarily due to anger from shop owners along important avenues of the city. However, the administration went ahead and implemented his policy.

Peñalosa argued that parking was not something that the city should supply, but something that car drivers (or private companies like shopping malls) should provide. As he jokingly described it once:
“Does the city give me a public closet to put my shoes inside? No, then they shouldn’t give me a parking space to park my car.”

The best example of this policy in action was on Carrera 15, an avenue in Bogotá in a high income area of approximately 5 kms length. Through this avenue there are various shops and office buildings, and some residential buildings.

Carrera 15 before Peñalosa
The situation in Carrera 15 was appalling (see photo above): more than five thousand free parking spaces were available to anyone who would arrive at a shop, while bad quality or no space was given to pedestrians along the same sidewalks. Shop owners did not see a problem with this situation, and felt greatly threatened by Peñalosa’s project to remove parking spaces and build wide sidewalks.
However, the local construction agency (IDU) did a survey which found that 80% of the vehicles parked outside shops were actually owned by shop owners and employees! Only 20% were of spaces were serving their clients. Furthermore, it was found that in some areas there was actually an oversupply of almost three times the actual parking space use (e.g. 166 cars parked in an area that had a total of 479 parking spaces). The Mayor was emboldened and the project went ahead. The results are shown in the photo below.

Carrera 15 after Peñalosa

No urban project can be perfect. 
Peñalosa’s on-street parking reforms were bold and effective. His main goal had been to transfer on-street parking spaces to off-street parking lots and this was successful. In line with this he also decided to offer tax incentives (discounts) to those who were interested in developing off-street parking lots. Many private companies took this opportunity to build a large number of off-street parking lots.

Unfortunately, the Mayor may have been too generous in encouraging off-street supply! In this he did not follow his own rhetoric which claimed that parking was a private matter to be paid for entirely by its private beneficiaries.

The shift away from free on-street parking to paid off-street parking was an important change for the city. However, time would present other challenges.

Look out for further posts in this Bogotá series.

Did you like this post? Then click here to get Reinventing Parking by Email!

7 comments

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Speaking on parking this Friday in Melbourne

Speaking on parking this Friday in Melbourne
I am interrupting my Australian holiday this Friday to give a lunchtime seminar on my parking research. It would be great to meet some Melbourne readers of the blog if you can make it.

The event is organised by GAMUT (Governance and Management of Urban Transport) at the University of Melbourne (in the Architecture Building).

Here is the blurb for the talk:
Car parking policy choices and opportunities in perspective
Interest in car parking policy has become heightened in recent years and conventional parking policy is now more contested than ever. This talk will discuss new insights on parking policy developed in two publications by the speaker. One, recently published in Transport Reviews, explores further implications of Donald Shoup's arguments calling for the abolition of minimum parking requirements. The other, soon to be published as an Asian Development Bank (ADB) working paper, reports on a comparative study of parking policy in 14 large metropolitan areas in East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia. Both publications use a new typology of parking policy approaches. The results of the studies and the framework help place common parking policy controversies into a clearer perspective than usual and highlight policy opportunities which are otherwise difficult to see.
See http://www.abp.unimelb.edu.au/gamut/conferences/seminar.html for details. An RSVP is a good idea since they are laying on some light refreshments.
No comments

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Aargh! Another city wants to regulate parking prices?

I reported before that cities in Indonesia, China and Vietnam regulate the prices of private parking facilities. Now Chennai, the largest city in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is also considering price controls on private-sector parking.

Oh dear. I hope they think very carefully first. Can someone please refer Chennai's politicians to my previous post on this issue?

I am not a fan of this policy (to put it mildly). Parking price controls are a bad idea. I don't want to beat about the bush about that. They are profoundly counter-productive. Consider these points:
  • All of India's large cities claim to have a severe parking shortage. 
  • The low investment returns on parking space prompt some building owners to divert parking to other uses. 
  • Rising private-sector parking prices are precisely what is needed to get a better balance between supply and demand. 
  • Some basic needs might warrant for price controls in some situations (this is another debate!). But it is a huge stretch to claim parking is a basic need, especially in a place like India. 
  • Services based on natural monopolies do usually need price regulation. But parking is usually NOT a natural monopoly. (As I said in my previous post on this topic.)
  • So why on earth would you want to cap those prices? [Could it be anything to do with the reluctance to take effective control of on-street parking? Yes, of course! But in that case focus more energy there, not on fake solutions like controlling off-street parking prices.]

Most of the (so-called) arguments for price controls are incredibly feeble.

Many seem to consist of little more than complaints over rising prices. Local motorists and politicians are shocked (shocked!) that shopping malls and private recreation centres in the city have been "charging Rs 10 and 20 per hour for a two-wheeler and Rs 50 and 60 per hour for a car." US$1 is about Rs45 currently.  The news item from Chennai quotes breathless exclamations about the 'fleecing' of customers:
"Initially, the parking fee for two-wheelers at a shopping mall on Radhakrishnan Salai was Rs 5. All of a sudden it was increased to Rs 10. It is high time they were regulated," said PN Peter of Adyar.
I gather that Radhakrishnan Salai is one of Chennai's busiest and swankiest shopping streets.


Nevertheless, there is at least ONE substantive argument for price regulation which I see popping up (with slight variations) in many countries and which raises some important issues. I don't agree with it but it does deserve some detailed discussion (in another post soon).

The argument has to do with the ways in which parking is usually NOT counted as part of floor space which planners allow in a development and is usually NOT subject to the full force of property taxes. These issues may seem a little dry but they are important. If you want to understand parking policy choices you are going to have to grapple with some of the esoteric planning rules which govern parking and property taxes.

More on this argument some other time.

By the way, I hope this post does not come across badly as an outsider lecturing Indians on how to run their cities. [This blog lectures everyone! Not just Indian cities.]  For an Indian perspective on parking policy from a blog that is well worth following, see the latest post from India Lives in Her Cities Too.
No comments