In fact, you and I may be thinking about parking in fundamentally different ways. We have different analogies in mind even if we don't think about them very clearly.
I think people 'frame' parking in at least three different ways:
1. "Parking is an ancillary service for each building, like its restrooms"
Many people tend to see parking as an ancillary facility that needs to go with every building site, like fire escapes, plumbing or toilets. With this view, it seems obvious that planners need to make sure buildings have enough, so that there should be no excuse for anyone to do it out in the streets. It is the problem of 'spillover' that this approach is most concerned to prevent. As I have written before, this is the way the conventional suburban approach sees parking. It seems natural in places where buildings are isolated from each other, as they often are in auto-oriented suburban areas.
2. "Parking is infrastructure for its area, like local public transport facilities"
Others see parking as 'infrastructure' akin to local public transport facilities, such as stops, shelters, priority lanes and depots. This is infrastructure for the whole locality, not for specific buildings as in the restroom perspective above. It suits walkable, park-once districts. With parking as district infrastructure, spillover is not seen as a big worry. Nevertheless, with this perspective, parking needs to be planned. As with transit facilities, parking can be overwhelmed by demand or can be underutilized. And like transit, it is often seen as a tool for achieving various urban policy goals. So this view tends to put responsibility for parking outcomes onto government. I call this diverse family of approaches 'parking management' and it is common in inner city areas, at least in Western countries.
3. "Parking is real estate"
A third perspective sees parking as real estate, or a use of real estate space. This points toward a more market-oriented mindset on parking. Like number 2 above, this also suits walkable park-once districts. I will explain this analogy in more detail in my next post. [Update: here is the next post]
So we have a paradigm difference on our hands, with different people seeing parking in different ways.
These analogies are not perfect of course. Analogies never are. You will easily think of lots of objections. But I still think they are helpful. They highlight the contrasts between various mental frameworks for thinking about parking and parking policy. It would be so much better if we could all be more explicit about how we 'frame' parking.