I have come to learn that when parking spaces are limited, who owns one and how they are used can affect relationships between neighbors. We use the parking space that came with our apartment for bike parking--see video below to see how it works (and how kids see it as a toy). Most people who happen to be walking by when we access the bikes make some kind of comment (mostly positive) about our unusual use of the space. But one neighbour who saw the garage went to the police and complained that we are using a car parking space for bicycles when on-street parking is in such short supply. He thought we should be forced to use it for a car or lose our residential parking permit. He didn’t get very far since we don’t own a car and therefore don’t have a parking permit.
In discussions about parking, policies like parking minimums/maximums, supply levels, or parking prices are heavily debated. Unspoken in these debates are the myriad ways that policies can affect people’s lives or relationships. While such considerations may be superfluous to most policy discussions, they are highly relevant when deciding how to communicate parking policies. Parking policies have real implications for decisions like where we shop, how we visit our friends or relatives, or whether we see our neighbours as competitors for precious space.
In a world where parking is often seen as a right—as evidenced by my friend who questioned my judgement for moving to a street with limited parking—restrictive parking policies can push nerves as well as pocket books. Without a corresponding communication campaign to build support for an increase in parking prices or decrease in supply, resentment against the policies are sure to build. That’s why a better understanding of people’s travel routines can help to fine-tune communications campaigns that are aiming to increase support for more restrictive parking policies. For example, if a decrease in public parking supply due to an extension in residential parking zones will disproportionately inconvenience office workers it might be worthwhile to target a campaign at this group, explaining the reasons for the changes and pointing out alternatives relevant to them.
What are some best practices in the area of communication campaigns for parking policies? If so, do you have examples of communication campaigns around parking policy that tailored its message to a certain target group?