Parking reform and seeking justice

Join the new Parking Reform Network! 

That was the key message that Lindsay Bayley, Jane Wilberding and I had in mind when we planned our discussion for this edition of Reinventing Parking. 

But first we tackled connections between parking reform and social equity, racial justice and enforcement reform. There are some surprisingly strong and important connections. In light of recent events, we couldn't not talk about them. 

Lindsay and Jane are both experienced parking professionals as well as advocates for parking change. They are two of the main instigators behind the newly-formed Parking Reform Network. I enjoyed our conversation enormously and I hope you will too. 

Scroll down for some highlights from our conversation or listen with the player below.  
Find out how to subscribe to the audio podcast.

Some highlights from my discussion with Lindsay Bayley and Jane Wilberding of the Parking Reform Network

The highlights below are very brief this time, so please do dive into the recorded interview with the player at the top or by subscribing and listening with your favourite podcast listening app. Here's how.

In a 2019 episode I spoke with Tony Jordan about Portlanders for Parking Reform. At the end he teased us by saying he was planning something bigger. Now we know he was talking about the new Parking Reform Network

The network wants to “inspire and support a nationwide network of parking reformers” and to “make it as easy as possible for folks everywhere to create their own parking reform organizations and start advocating for changes in their community.”

As I said at the top, please join!

We recorded on day 15 or so of the huge wave of Black Lives Matter protests, so we started by talking about how parking management, parking enforcement and parking reform touch on issues of social and racial equity, policing and the justice system.

You might be surprised but there are various connections. 

Especially relevant for Black Lives Matter is how some cities depend much too much on fines, including parking fines, as a revenue source. Unfortunately, parking fines for low-income people often escalate step-by-step into debts, arrest warrants and risky traffic stops. 

Other connections between parking and equity include these: 
  • Priced parking is sometimes said to be regressive. But this ignores how regressive free-of-charge parking is. (For a similar argument regarding congestion pricing, see Michael Manville in Transfers Magazine.)
  • Free-of-charge parking is used more by the wealthy than by the poor but free-of-charge means everyone pays, including the poor. 
  • Housing scarcity especially harms low-income people and ethnic and racial minorities. And parking minimums contribute to housing scarcity. 
  • If you oppose new housing or dense housing because of parking or if you oppose abolishing parking minimums over fears about on-street parking, ask yourself this: are you inadvertently making common cause with bigots whose main concern is keeping the 'wrong kinds of people' out of the area? 
We then circled back to the new network and how it plans to nurture parking reform activity. Topics included: 
  • Passion and emotion in parking debates
  • How can parking reformers move people past their visceral frustrations towards thoughtful discussion of evidence-based options
  • The value of even simple do-it-yourself data gathering on your local parking situation (and how you can get help from fellow network members on this)
  • Which parking issues should budding parking reformers focus on first?
  • Why join? What help can beginner parking reformers expect from the Parking Reform Network? 

If you are interested in more detail, please take a listen to our conversation!

About Lindsay Bayley and Jane Wilberding

Both Lindsay and Jane are members of the Parking Reform Network's Board of Directors

Lindsay is a co-founder and the VP of the Parking Reform Network. Her day job is Senior Planner at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) where among other things she manages parking studies in Chicago neighborhoods and suburban downtowns. 

Jane’s day job is as a consultant with Sam Schwartz where she works with cities, developers and institutions on parking management, transportation demand management, and curbside management. 

Both Lindsay and Jane were speaking in their personal capacities and not for their employers.


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