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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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.