Thursday, December 1, 2011

India debates proof-of-parking laws

An issue to watch. Several Indian states are considering 'proof-of-parking' laws and a central government committee has given the idea a boost.

Some background

Since the 1950s, registering a car in Japan has involved proving to local police that you have access to an off-street parking space near your home. The intention in Japan has always been to make sure its narrow streets are not clogged with parked vehicles. The policy was NOT explicitly aimed at restricting car ownership. A key result has been to create a market for priced off-street parking even in residential areas. There is more detail on Japan's experience in my report for the ADB, 'Parking Policy in Asian Cities'.

Korea's island province of Cheju has also been giving it a try in recent years.

In India, the small, far-east state of Mizoram enacted such a policy last year. Sikkim followed suit and Karnataka has expressed strong interest, prompted by Bangalore's parking problems.

Does anyone have updated news on these proof-of-parking initiatives in Korea and India? 

India's renewed proof-of-parking debate

India's latest debate on this was sparked in mid-October this year by a central government review, the report of the so-called Sundar Committee on the amendment of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Please note that the committee's recommendations have not yet been accepted by the Government of India.

On page 27 of the proposed new version of the Act point 29 (via the Ministry of Road Transport), 'Registration, how to be made'  includes this:
(2) The application for registration shall be accompanied by such proof of parking space as may be prescribed by the State Government.
That's it! This seems to leave all of the details, and whether to do anything at all, to the state governments.

Early reactions

Perspectives on the proof-of-parking suggestion in the Sundar report were diverse.
Via a DNA report:

Nitin Dossa of the Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) criticised the Sunder Committee, saying that the recommendations were far from practical. “It is the duty of the government to see to it that enough parking for cars is provided,” Dossa said.

Amardeep Singh Hora of the Responsible Road Users’ Club (RRUC) said, “It is an impractical idea. People will start providing fake proofs of parking. When you don’t even have clear demarcations of parking and no-parking areas on roads, how can such a radical idea be implemented?”

A senior official from the transport department said, “The ratio of vehicle population to the road length in Mumbai is already the lowest in the country. This idea needs to be implemented as it is one of the important ways to control the ballooning vehicle population, which has made commuting on roads such a nightmare.”

Meanwhile, transport analyst Ashok Datar said, “This is a very important initiative. The initiative will help curb the rising number of vehicles on roads. We should not ignore this at all.”
And from another DNA report:

VN More, Maharashtra transport commissioner, said the government wants this clause to be incorporated in the motor vehicles act. More, who was at the meeting in New Delhi, said this would go a long way in solving the city’s parking problem. “Roads are meant for the movement of cars and not for illegally parking cars,” More said. “Cars parked illegally on roads make it difficult for other cars to move freely. In a space-starved city like Mumbai, we should make optimum use of roads.”

What do you think? Is such a policy desirable? Is it feasible? Would it just create new corruption opportunities? Has the debate moved on since October?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

From private parking to public parking: part of the Adaptive Parking agenda

From private parking to public parking: part of the Adaptive Parking agenda
Alvin drives to a shopping district. First he needs some pliers, so he parks his car in the parking lot of the hardware store. Next he needs the bank, some stamps and a haircut. All are available nearby so he leaves the car where it is and heads off on foot. When he returns to the car, the owner of the hardware shop is angry that he parked there for an hour while running other errands.
Who is right?

The hardware shop parking is private and intended for customers. So maybe its owner has a point. But Alvin did buy something and it would have been ridiculous to get in the car to drive 50 metres for fruit, then again for banking, and again for the haircut. It seemed natural, once he was parked, to treat the hardware shop parking lot as public parking.

We have a conflict and a dilemma. The free private parking that is encouraged by conventional parking policy becomes a source of conflict in mixed-use neighbourhoods. By contrast, both parking management and market-oriented approaches to parking (such as Adaptive Parking), encourage public parking which is well-suited to such areas.

Don't be confused by the word 'public' here. I am not talking about government-owned parking. I am talking about parking that is open to the general public. So public parking is often privately owned.

The conventional suburban approach to parking policy assumes that most parking will be associated with just one premises. In fact, it asserts this as the norm by requiring parking with every development. In extremely automobile-oriented locations, such parking is private simply because many parking lots and buildings are isolated.

This Jeff Tumlin graphic illustrates how parking arrangements in car-oriented suburbia inflate both parking demand and traffic.

Destinations like those portrayed above have nowhere else to walk to easily. So they don't worry too much about spillover and they usually don't need signs like this one below.


However, we have a problem when suburban-style parking policy is imposed on places that are even slightly more dense and urban. Ample parking requirements often keep parking prices at zero. But parking once and then walking seems the natural thing to do. The assumption that each parking lot serves its own premises clashes with the reality of walkable neighbourhoods with multiple destinations. So we see disputes like Alvin's with the hardware store owner.

The Oregonian's commuting columnist and blogger, Joseph Rose, grappled with a similar real-life example in April (although in that case, the on-street parking is priced). And here is a follow-up.

Adaptive Parking prefers public parking over private. 

In fact, this is one of the five central reform principles for Adaptive Parking, which aims to get more of the benefits of market responsiveness into our parking systems.

Why does Adaptive Parking call for more parking to be open to the public (or at least shared) and for less of it to be private? Primarily because Adaptive Parking seeks market responsiveness in parking. This requires park-once districts. And, for various reasons, park-once districts work best with most of their parking open to the public.

Here is the park-once district alternative in another Jeff Tumlin diagram. By the way, the Atlantic Cities profiled Jeff's parking work recently.

If your community decides that it likes the idea of Adaptive Parking, you will need to promote park-once districts with mostly public parking and discourage the practice of keeping parking private.

But how would that solve the conflict between Alvin and the hardware store owner? Adaptive Parking would encourage all of the businesses in the area to make their parking public and open to each other's customers and clients. If demand is high enough, it would also encourage them to price their parking using performance pricing. This would ensure parking availability in the area and allow retailers to stop worrying about free riders, like Alvin, parking in their lots.
1 comment

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Introducing Adaptive Parking

Introducing Adaptive Parking
[UPDATE: For a more detailed explanation of Adaptive Parking, here is a short conference paper I presented in late 2013 (PDF).]

I ended a recent talk in Delhi with a few words on 'Adaptive Parking'. Now I want to start explaining it in more detail. I also want your feedback so please leave a comment.

So what is Adaptive Parking?

I suggest the name 'Adaptive Parking' for various parking policy reforms that focus on increasing the market responsiveness of our parking systems.

Parking policy in a city that embraces Adaptive Parking would have a clear focus on this goal of making parking more market responsive or adaptive.

But market-responsiveness does not have to be the ONLY goal. You could still use parking policy as a tool for worthy objectives like traffic restraint or helping local retail businesses. But with Adaptive Parking, you would make sure to pursue such goals in ways that also preserve market responsiveness in the parking system.

Parking arrangements in suburban centres are usually far from adaptive. Supply is heavily regulated to produce oversupply, so that the price is zero, killing most market processes in parking. Most parking is private (customer or employees only) so even occasional localised demand in excess of supply will cause a spillover problem and prompt pleas for even more supply. 

Guiding Principles for Adaptive Parking reform

Monday, October 31, 2011

Around the block: parking policy links

Reinventing Parking has been too quiet lately. Sorry!

Here is a quick 'links' post to help me get going with blogging again. By the way, most of these links are drawn from my Twitter feed (where I tweet about parking as well as some wider urban transport themes). I haven't been in the habit of re-posting them here. But I think I should.

Macau is proposing to vary its parking fees by area and time - making it costlier to park in peak hours and in the busiest areas. It looks like they are thinking of this in terms of traffic restraint rather than making parking occupancy the focus of pricing decisions.

at Parking Today blog picked up on my coining of the term "Adaptive Parking" in my last post here. Encouraging. Thanks John!

A Westfield shopping centre in Brisbane just started charging for parking (the first three hrs are free) in order to deter 'free-riders' using it as a park-and-ride lot. Seems reasonable to me, but local reactions seem to range from shock to horror.

Streets Blog has a series of posts on parking reforms brewing in New York City. There are some promising signs and some rather worrying ones.

Park-and-ride Metro-North parking lots in the Connecticut suburbs of New York City have multi-year waits for passes and some screwed up pricing policies. Felix Salmon had some brief and pertinent comments (but a misleading headline). 
The small New Zealand city of Rotorua plans to vary its parking prices in space (but not yet in time).

This one could be big if India's states decide to follow through on it. A review of India's vehicle registration system has recommended requiring car owners to prove they have access to parking before being allowed to register the vehicle. One part of India recently started doing so and Japan has for decades.
Social engineering that promotes automobile dependence: an example of how parking minimums erode inner urban vitality.

Parking reform in California that would have prevented local governments from having excessively high parking minimums near transit stops (among other reforms) has been killed by lobbying.

Creative parking policy reforms in Montgomery County, Maryland. Nelson/Nygaard helped the county navigate a minefield to achieve pro-urban parking policy settings in its urban districts. But abolishing parking minimums was a step too far.

The unfairness of Delhi's extremely low parking prices: The Hindu.

UK's coalition government has announced parking policy changes. Not good. Thoughtful commentary here and here.

Fascinating first hand insights on how residential parking works in urban Japan.
No comments

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Promising Parking Policies Worldwide: Lessons for India?

I have mentioned before that India's cities have dire parking problems and much heated debate over what to do about them.

I have strong views on the subject, informed in part by my study of parking policy in Asian cities. So I was happy to be invited to a 17 August conference in Delhi entitled 'International Conference on Parking Reforms for a Liveable City. It was organised by the environmental NGO, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), which is prominent in India's parking policy debates. It was a fascinating day, shared with parking folks from all over India and a few from other parts of the world. It was good to catch up with some old friends.

My presentation is embedded below.  If you can't see it, here is a link to the pdf.

My key point was to ask where in the world India's cities might find useful and relevant models for parking policy. Unfortunately, Indian cities now seem to be following the least appropriate model, the USA's and Australia's suburban parking policy approach.

My talk also includes the first public airing of an approach to parking policy reform that I am calling Adaptive Parking. It brings together many of the ideas that I have been raising in this blog.

The Adaptive Parking reform agenda is based on Donald Shoup's approach but tries to extend it.  It aims to make Shoup's market-oriented parking reform agenda general enough to be relevant to places very different from North America. It also offers guidance on how to move in that direction with baby steps even if your city is not ready to take on the whole package of Shoupista reforms.

I will be saying more about Adaptive Parking in the coming months. In the meantime, feedback on this presentation would be very welcome!

Other presentations at the conference included the following, all of which can be downloaded from the conference page:
  • Parking policy: Getting the principles right
     By Anumita Roy Chowdhury
  • Europe’s Parking U-Turn
     By Michael Kodransky
  • Parking Pricing as TDM Tool
     By Dr. Errampalli Madhu
  • Parking Reforms for a Liveable City
     By Sanjiv N. Sahai
  • Parking Demand Management Study for Central Delhi
     By Piyush Kansal
  • Parking Reforms for a Liveable City
     By Abhijit Lokre

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Is $125,000 for a residential parking space too much?

Is $125,000 for a residential parking space too much?
The China Daily reported last week on alarm in Chinese cities over high selling prices for parking spaces in residential complexes. The highest reported price was 800,000 yuan (or $125,000) recently for a parking space in an upmarket complex in Beijing. 

Before you get too agitated, let's try to get some perspective.  [And you can play too! Scroll down for a homework exercise.]

The info-graphic is actually a little misleading.  Housing prices are quoted per square metre but parking prices are totals. It would be better to compare housing per square metre with parking per square metre.

To convert, we need to know the total space per parking slot. This can range from about 20 to 38 square metres depending on the layout and the form of the parking. These make a big difference to how much aisle space and space-consuming ramps are needed.

If we need 20 to 38 sq.m per parking spot, maybe it is really NOT so shocking that:

1 comment

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why so little progress on eliminating parking minimums?

Why so little progress on eliminating parking minimums?
One of Donald Shoup's two big suggestions, performance parking pricing, is slowly but surely taking off. But his other major policy thrust, eliminating minimum parking requirements, is being widely ignored.

Here is Don Shoup in an interview with John Van Horn of the Parking Today magazine (It is quite a good read. Take a look!):
... I wanted to show that minimum parking requirements damage cities, the economy and the environment. 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 planners continue to set minimum parking requirements as though nothing had happened.

... Although the planning profession’s lack of interest in reforming off-street parking requirements has been disappointing, I was surprised and delighted by the interest in charging market prices for curb parking.
So, despite widespread attacks on parking minimums there are very few takers for eliminating them (or even reducing them!).

There seems to be next to no interest in such reform in auto-oriented suburbs where the parking minimums are at their most extreme. Even worse, various rapidly motorising countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Latin America are keener than ever on minimum parking requirements, despite all the warnings about them from people like ITDP and GIZ's SUTP programme.

What are we doing wrong? Why is it so hard to shift this bad policy?

Without getting too much into the public policy theories on why some policy proposals take off and some don't, here (below the fold) are a few possibilities.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Parking Policy in Asian Cities: final report now available from the Asian Development Bank

Parking Policy in Asian Cities: final report now available from the Asian Development Bank

The final book form of my study of "Parking Policy in Asian Cities" is now available for purchase or free download via the website of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Even if you have already seen the earlier 'consultants report' version, you will find this final version valuable for its professional editing and layout and as the definitive version to use as a reference.

I hope this will help participants in parking policy debates around the region think more clearly about key parking policy choices.


Most Asian cities are facing an acute parking crisis as a result of rapid urbanization and motorization, and high urban densities. Parking policy is an important component of a holistic approach to sustainable urban transport across the region. The report provides an international comparative perspective on parking policy in Asian cities, while highlighting the nature of the policy choices available. It is a step in building a knowledge base to address the knowledge gap on parking and the lack of adequate guidance for parking policy in Asia.

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Approaches to Parking Supply Policy
  • Minimum Parking Requirements and Parking Built with Buildings
  • Parking Policy in Streets and Lanes
  • Government Resources Devoted to Off-Street Parking Supply
  • Policy toward Public Parking as a Business
  • Parking as a Mobility Management Tool
  • Car Parking Outcomes in Asian Cities
  • Motorcycle Parking
  • Parking Policy Trajectories?
  • Policy Lessons and Conclusions
  • References
  • Appendixes

Many thanks again to everyone who helped along the way!

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

No comments

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SFPark's first price review: some hikes, some decreases

SFPark's first price review: some hikes, some decreases
Many eyes are on San Francisco's trial of performance pricing for parking. The SFMTA has just announced its first price revisions under the SFPark trial.

Donald Shoup tweeted the link, calling it 'the world’s first parking price adjustments in response to parking occupancy rates'.

The announcement links to various details and data, including an easy-to-understand map (PDF).

In case you missed the earlier news about SFPark, the idea is to trial Donald Shoup's proposal for parking prices that target 15% vacancy rate at all times by making prices vary from place to place and time to time. The aim is to get enough vacancies to eliminate 'cruising for parking'. By the way, the Spring 2011 Access magazine has a concise update and summary of Shoup's parking policy suggestions and their uptake in various places.

So, in this SFPark price review, places and times with high parking occupancy rates see price rises, while blocks and times with low occupancy rates see price decreases. The small changes (never more than 50 cents at a time) that were just announced are the result of automatic monitoring over the last two months or so. Here is one of the maps.

These maps are fascinating. Suspicious souls have tended to assume that SFPark will all be about price increases. The maps show otherwise. Many blocks will have price decreases at various times. Some places that are close together see their prices moving in opposite directions.

These maps should demolish the simplistic idea that we can talk about a whole district having a parking shortage. Whenever you hear such a claim you should ask: Which section of which street do you mean? And at what specific times?

I am not too surprised by the patterns we see in the maps. But the details are still full of interest. And it remains to be seen how the prices evolve over time and at what rates they might settle down to. 

But a much more important question is how this will go over in public perceptions and in the local political scene. THAT is what SFPark is really testing, I think. And it is the politics that will determine whether it truly becomes a model for others to emulate.
1 comment

Monday, July 4, 2011

Who's afraid of the spillover bogey?

Who's afraid of the spillover bogey?
No spillover please.
Is most parking policy based on fear of a phantom?

Spillover parking is nuisance parking that takes place outside a motorist's actual destination. And fear of Spillover Parking is central to all conventional parking policy.

But wait a minute. Is parking outside your destination automatically a nuisance or a problem?

Conventional parking policy assumes that spillover almost always IS a nuisance. But are we sure about that?

Someone must be pretty certain. After all, local governments all over the world enact costly regulations (minimum parking requirements) to make sure all premises have enough parking in the hope that no neighbouring business or resident need ever fear that horror-of-horrors, spillover parking.

What do parking reformers, such as parking management advocates or Shoupistas, think of spillover? Well, compared with supporters of conventional suburban parking policy, they are pretty relaxed about it. But still they mostly seem to talk about it as a problem (albeit one they are confident can be managed or minimised).

But is spillover really a problem in and of itself? Maybe parking reformers should stop saying "it is a problem but we can handle it" and instead say clearly that spillover is NOT the real problem at all. And maybe we should even proclaim that spillover can be a good thing!

Let me spell it out before you dismiss me as crazy.

Most previous parking policy conflates nuisance parking and spillover. But if you think about it for a moment, you will realise they are not necessarily the same thing at all. What does the ultimate destination of a vehicle's occupants have to do with whether their parking is a nuisance to others? Sure, there is often an overlap between the two categories but there is no necessary connection.

Most parking policy portrays spillover parking as an externality - like pollution - imposed by a development that does not have enough parking to meet its own demand.

But is pollution really a good analogy? Unlike the victims of a polluting factory, the neighbours of a development with a full parking lot are not helpless victims. We CAN prevent parking that we don't want. Or we could welcome it and price it (and maybe even profit from it). The same argument applies to spillover parking in the streets. It can be prevented with enforcement or it can be welcomed, managed and priced.

Spillover? Bring it on!
The spillover-as-pollution analogy rests on false assumptions. And the assumptions look even worse once you start thinking in terms of park-once neighbourhoods and stop assuming that parking and destinations have to have anything to do with each other.

In a park-once, shared-parking district, parking outside your destination is not a problem. And park-once, shared parking districts are, in many ways, a good thing that we should want more of.

So this is where we stand up and unashamedly say that spillover can be a good thing. We like park-once neighbourhoods but we can't have them without spillover! Spillover that is not a nuisance! Parking outside some of your destinations is the whole idea of a park-once district where motorists walk to various destinations after parking anywhere in the area. Park where? We don't care so long as it is legal and not a nuisance.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Deliberate parking crunch in Singapore's city centre?

Deliberate parking crunch in Singapore's city centre?
The imminent closure of one of Singapore's few stand-alone parking facilities, the Market Street Car Park, has provoked some breathless reporting on a supposed 'parking crunch' in the financial district here.*

A local journalist asked my opinion on Singapore CBD parking policy. He wanted to know if the Singapore government has been deliberately restricting the amount of parking in the central area, and if so, do I think it is a good idea. I spent some time on my comments, so I have adapted them into a post.

Singapore has been reducing its minimum parking requirements over the years, especially for the city centre**. Confusingly, many people here are under the impression that these policies amount to a restriction on parking in the CBD.

Huh? These are MINIMUM parking requirements, not maximums! How could parking minimums have anything to do with restricting parking?

Actually, developers have good reason to view the parking standards as maximums and not just as minimums. Why? Because only the required parking is exempted from counting as part of their allowed floor area (gross floor area, GFA) under the development controls (zoning). This means that if they build any more parking over and above the minimum requirements, they will have to reduce something else. And those ‘something elses’ (like shops, offices, hotel rooms, etc) earn much more revenue than parking (at least for now). So developers in Singapore apparently don't usually build any more than the minimum amount of parking.

So did the LTA and the Ministry of Transport set the new parking standards low in order to control traffic?

No comments

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Asian parking policy surprises (magazine article)

Global-is-Asian is the magazine of my employer, the LKY School of Public Policy, which is part of the National University of Singapore.

For the latest edition I contributed a summary of the key findings of the Parking Policy in Asian Cities study.

You can read it HERE, browse the whole magazine here or download the pdf for the magazine here. 
No comments

Saturday, June 18, 2011

TRB 2011 parking papers for browsing

TRB 2011 parking papers for browsing
I attended my first TRB Annual Meeting in January this year. It was quite an experience.

Outside the 'Hinckley Hilton'
I have just realised that you can browse but not download many of the papers from the 2011 TRB 90th Annual Meeting via the Annual Meeting Online Portal. TRB stands for Transportation Research Board.

Here are links for browsing some of the parking papers: 
Please let me know if these links stop working. 
No comments

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Visual tour of Buenos Aires parking

Visual tour of Buenos Aires parking
Much of Buenos Aires is beautiful, even some of its parking facilities.


My understanding of the workings of Buenos Aires parking is superficial and based mainly on walking around its central areas. I learned a few things from the Rosario conference but I am still a novice on Latin American cities and their parking.

So this post does not pretend any great expertise. Instead, I offer some visual impressions, comments and some questions.

There is a lot more to be said, so if you know Buenos Aires please share your insights via the comments!

A beautiful facade but parking inside. Hmm.

Not so beautiful ...
Lots more below. Scroll down.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Presentation: 'Learning from Parking Policies in Asia'

A few eastern Asian cities have an unfamiliar approach to parking. They have very low minimum parking requirements but don't seem to worry about boosting parking supply.

This is part of the story I told in a talk in Argentina a few weeks ago. The slideshow is below.

I was honoured to be invited to speak on parking policies in Asia at the Conference on Sustainable Transport, Air Quality and Climate Change for Latin America and the Caribbean, which was held in Rosario, Argentina, on May 9-14, 2011. Most presentations were in Spanish, with a few in English (including mine). You can see the programme and view all of the presentations HERE.

Here is a part of the story that I tried to tell.

As I have said before, parking policy has THREE families of approaches. Each involves thinking about parking in a very different way.
  • ‘Conventional’ approaches see parking as ancillary infrastructure for each building (like its toilets)
  • ‘Parking management’ approaches see parking as infrastructure for whole neighborhoods (like streets) and hence they also see parking as a potential tool for wider policy goals
  • Market-oriented approaches to parking policy (like Donald Shoup's for example) also see parking as a service for whole neighbourhoods but also tend to see parking as real-estate (or as a real-estate based service industry, like hot food outlets).  
At the start of our Asian Cities Parking Study I expected parking management to be common in Asia. Why did I expect that? Because most Asian city areas have ideal conditions for park-once, shared parking environments (high urban densities; mixed-use urban fabric; high use of non-car modes; acute problems arising from rapid motorization) and in the West such conditions are the home territory for parking management approaches.

But to my surprise we found that all of the cities use minimum parking requirements. Does that mean the conventional approach to parking policy is common in Asia? Well it sure does dominate parts of Southeast Asia and South Asia (where many cities now have excessively high minimum parking requirements).

However, a few East Asian cities don't seem to worry much about parking supply. 

Tokyo (and Japan generally) is the main example but several other cities also show some signs of this. You could think of their model as a ‘relaxed pragmatic’ version of the conventional approach to parking policy. These cities have minimum parking requirements but their policy settings don't show much concern about parking shortages or the usual bogey, 'spillover'.

My guess is that this is because their ‘park-once neighborhoods’ adapt easily to changing parking conditions (especially when prices are left to market forces). There is also adequate control of on-street parking and Japanese cities have little on-street parking anyway. So, without great pressure to solve parking problems, these cities didn't need to update those low minimum parking requirements even though car ownership and use has increased.

This seems to me to be a strange hybrid between the conventional approach and market-oriented parking. It is a surprising mix that we don't find in the West (to my knowledge). By the way, I don't want to imply that Japan's approach was a well-thought-out strategy. More likely it was something of an accident.

[I should also mention that Tokyo's parking policy is still far from perfect! For example, it is probably much too liberal in allowing vacant lots to be used for parking.]

Anyway, I ended the talk by suggesting that these eastern Asian experiences might prompt others to consider relaxing a bit about parking supply by doing the following: 
  • Get adequate control of on-street parking
  • Foster ‘park-once neighborhoods’ with most parking open to the public, not restricted to customers or tenants only, and with market prices
  • Even if you can’t lower or abolish minimum parking requirements, at least don’t increase them!
No comments

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Urban India gropes for parking solutions

Urban India gropes for parking solutions
Karthik Rao-Cavale tackles parking policy in India's cities in a recent post on his blog, "India lives in her cities too!"  It is a really good overview with clear thinking. Certainly, India's parking policy debates urgently need clearer thinking!

He makes an excellent point about the opportunity India has to get its parking policies on track NOW:
India, however, has a tremendous advantage in this regard. It is estimated that 90% of the commercial buildings that will exist by 2050 are yet to be built. Cities like Bombay are preparing themselves for large-scale redevelopment of entire neighbourhoods. If India changes its parking policy today, it can effectively rebuild its cities in a way that does not privilege the interests of automobiles over the interests of the city at large.
A local government parking structure in the old Walled City area of Ahmedabad.

Karthik outlines the unfortunate ways in which Indian authorities are currently trying to boost parking supply:
  1. direct municipal provision of parking (especially popular in Chennai he says)
  2. giving private builders incentives (additional FSI) to build parking for public use (tried in Mumbai)
  3. the conventional model using minimum parking requirements to force all residential and commercial developments have “sufficient” parking (Delhi already has amazingly high minimum parking requirements and India's Urban Development Minister recently called for no new construction to be built in India without parking space).
He argues that all of these approaches are doomed to failure while also causing various problems. They place responsibility for parking on the wrong heads: on government or on developers.

The alternative that he lays out is inspired by market-oriented and Shoupista thinking on parking. Karthik suggests that responsibility for parking should rest ultimately with vehicle owners, who must be willing to seek parking space as a commercial transaction from willing market providers. Government should stay out of the parking business to make way for this commercial industry to emerge.

He outlines a number of principles for putting this into action (see his post for more explanation).

Is chaotic on-street parking proof of a shortage (here in Ahmedabad for example)?

One small criticism. I have a quibble with his opening sentences: "It is incontestable that there is a shortage of parking in Indian cities. One only needs to look at the number of vehicles parked on the streets to guess that the number of off-street parking spots in the city is insufficient ...". The conclusion may be true but chaotic on-street parking does not necessarily prove there is an overall shortage. No amount of off-street parking will solve the on-street problems magically if on-street enforcement remains weak. My guess is that some Indian shopping streets that are believed to have parking shortages actually have some empty basement parking because visitors and employees alike prefer to park more conveniently in the streets and in the frontages.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Parking reform - an excellent video primer

No matter where in the world you live, the latest video from Streetfilms should resonate to some extent. It follows up on its recent Moving Beyond the Automobile film on The Price of Parking

American parking policy (the focus of the video) tends to be more screwed up than most. But many of the points made in this video also apply to India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Australia, Poland, Italy, Mexico and any of a very long long list of countries. Please take a look!

No comments

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Video: The Right Price for Parking

Streetfilms has just tackled on-street parking pricing as part of its Moving Beyond the Automobile series (scroll down for the video).

Much of the focus is on San Francisco's SFPark initiative, which went live a few days ago. I am looking forward to hearing about the reaction when prices actually start to be adjusted up or down:

The first demand-based rate change at City SFpark on-street automobile parking spaces will be implemented over the coming months and will continue at SFpark garages and on-street motorcycle parking spaces. The SFMTA will adjust rates based on demand to find the lowest hourly rate possible in each pilot area to achieve the right level of parking availability to make parking easier. Rates will be adjusted no more than once a month and only in small increments of no more than $0.50 per hour. The goal of these pricing adjustments is to have at least one open parking space on every block at most times and parking garages that rarely fill up.

MBA: The Right Price for Parking from Streetfilms on Vimeo.
1 comment

Monday, February 28, 2011

The (R)evolution of parking in Bogotá: Part 2 Too much of a good thing? (2000-2007)

The (R)evolution of parking in Bogotá: Part 2 Too much of a good thing? (2000-2007)
This is the second of a guest series on parking policy in Bogotá by guest blogger, Carlosfelipe Pardo of Slow Research (site in Spanish).

The first post in this series described one of Enrique Peñalosa’s least known “revolutions” in urban and transport policy: parking. It explained that his parking policies were based on the view that public space should be for people first and foremost, and thus on-street parking should be banished (or at least limited) while off-street parking could be encouraged.

This post briefly analyzes the effects that this had on Bogotá’s parking policy after Peñalosa’s time in office ended at the end of 2000.

Private vehicles (cars) should get their own – private – space

As I described before, Peñalosa’s view was that space for parking should not altogether disappear, but rather be transferred from the public to the private sphere. As Peñalosa himself says, “cars are like shoes: why should citizens expect the city administration to give them a closet to store them when they are not used?” He argued that this should be the private sector’s role and they should charge for it.

“Parking where it belongs” in Calle 93: private space dedicated for parking and, beside it, sidewalks that had previously been occupied by free parking space

How much is too much?
However, this leaves the questions: how much parking space should the private sector provide, and should it be regulated to avoid over-supply of parking spaces?


Thursday, January 20, 2011

European cities are reaping the rewards of innovative parking policies

European cities are reaping the rewards of innovative parking policies
So says a new report, Europe’s Parking U-Turn: From Accommodation to Regulation, from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).

Source: ITDP (2011) Europe’s Parking U-Turn: From Accommodation to Regulation, p18

Here is an excerpt from the Executive Summary (I have added a link):
This paper is the second in a series of policy papers from ITDP on parking. The first paper, released in Spring 2010, focused on successful parking practices in U.S. cities. This paper reviews successful parking practices in European cities. Parking management is a critical and often overlooked tool for achieving a variety of social goals. For much of the 20th Century, cities in Europe, like cities in the rest of the world, used parking policy mainly to encourage the construction of additional off-street parking, hoping to ease a perceived shortage of parking.
In the last few decades a growing number of European cities have led the world in changing the direction of parking policy. European citizens grew tired of having public spaces and footpaths occupied by surface parking. ...
In the cities reviewed here, parking policy has been reoriented around alternative social goals. Some recent parking reforms are driven by the need to comply with EU ambient air quality or national greenhouse gas targets. Other new parking policies are part of broader mobility targets encouraging reductions in the use of private motor vehicles. While London, Stockholm, and a few other European cities have managed to implement congestion charging to reduce motor vehicle use, more are turning to parking.

The ten cities featured are Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Copenhagen, London, Munich, Paris, Stockholm, Strasbourg and Zurich. The report was written by Michael Kodransky and Gabrielle Hermann.

Key findings include:
  • Parking is increasingly linked to public transport. Amsterdam, Paris, Zurich and Strasbourg limit how much parking is allowed in new developments based on how far it is to walk to a bus, tram or metro stop. Zurich has made significant investments in new tram and bus lines while making parking more expensive and less convenient. As a result, between 2000 and 2005, the share of public transit use went up by 7%, while the share of cars in traffic declined by 6%.
  • European cities are ahead of the rest of the world in charging rational prices for on-street parking. In Paris, the on-street parking supply has been reduced by more than 9% since 2003, and of the remaining stock, 95% is paid parking. The result, along with other transport infrastructure improvements, has been a 13% decrease in driving.
  • Parking reforms are becoming more popular than congestion charging. While London, Stockholm, and a few other European cities have managed to implement congestion charging, more are turning to parking. Parking caps have been set in Zurich and Hamburg’s business districts to freeze the existing supply, where access to public transport is easiest.
  • Revenue gathered from parking tariffs is being invested to support other mobility needs. In Barcelona, 100% of revenue goes to operate Bicing—the city’s public bike system. Several boroughs in London use parking revenue to subsidize transit passes for seniors and the disabled, who ride public transit for free.
Click here for a copy of the report (PDF).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Singapore's Today newspaper on my parking policy ideas

Singapore's Today newspaper on my parking policy ideas
Journalists like a local policy angle. So yesterday when a journalist from the Today newspaper here in Singapore called to ask about the Asian parking study she naturally asked what it means for Singapore parking policy.

The resulting article by Neo Chai Chin came out today under the title "Missed opportunity in parking policy?"

[UPDATE: The link to the article is now dead, so I have now placed its text at the bottom of this post.]

The Asian cities parking study itself doesn't make recommendations for Singapore specifically but, among other points, it does express surprise that parking policy here is rather conventional (using minimum parking requirements). It also seems odd that parking policy plays only a very small part in Singapore's robust Travel Demand Management efforts.

But I have been thinking a lot about how Shoupista-style parking policy might apply in Singapore. So when the journalist asked what I would suggest, I (rashly?) explained that performance pricing for public-sector parking should offer benefits and would be more consistent with Singapore's wider transport and urban planning priorities.

Anyway, do take a look at the article itself.  I see a few points in it that I would like to clarify or correct. Not today however. My detailed comments can wait.

[The full text of the Today article is below.]

Parking Location

Missed opportunity in parking policy?
Researcher says market-based pricing better, others believe implementation will be tricky
by Neo Chai Chin
05:55 AM Jan 06, 2011
1 comment