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:

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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!

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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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