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.

Description

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.

Contents
  • 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!

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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.
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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.

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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?

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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. 
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