Momentum on Parking Reform

This episode of Reinventing Parking is full of encouragement for parking reformers. 

It's a lively chat with the Parking Reform Network's enthusiastic president, Tony Jordan.

I checked in with him to talk about the encouraging progress and momentum we are seeing on parking reform and for the parking reform movement. 

We also had lots of tips on what PRN can do for you and how you can be involved. 

Our conversation left me feeling energized and upbeat about the difference we are making and I hope it does the same for you.

Listen with the player below. Or subscribe to the audio podcast. This is the official podcast of the  Parking Reform Network.

Reinventing Parking is the official podcast of the Parking Reform Network. Visit the PRN website or follow PRN on social media to catch up.

Highlights from my conversation with Tony Jordan

Here below is a brief summary of our discussion.

1:55 Why the Parking Reform Network exists

Parking gets in the way of progress on many issues. So there is a need to encourage concerted organizing and coalition building via a network of people who are working on the issue.

4:05 From discouragement and confusion in the early 2010 to growing momentum today

In the early 2010s, Donald Shoup's 2005 book had begun to inspire a movement. But parking reformers were still few and we were less hopeful and empowered than today. There was also more confusion than now over what to push for and how.

Today we are still relatively small but we are also an empowered and growing movement with policy victories to show for our efforts. Parking reformers everywhere feel less alone today.

5:06 Having fun doing parking reform with wonderful parking reform people!

Tony made the case that parking reform people are fun, interesting, friendly, caring, and thoughtful! 
Who am I to argue?

6:34 What do we mean by parking reform?

In short, we want cities to stop trying to mandate or create so much parking and to instead focus on managing their own parking, especially the on-street parking properly.

Most places have way too much parking already, not a shortage. Even in places where people think there's a shortage, that's not usually true. There only appears to be a shortage because we're not managing the existing parking efficiently or effectively.

Decades of mandating the parking has contributed to a dependency on automobiles, unwalkable and ininviting city centers, a lack of freedom for people who can't drive, housing shortages, and climate change.

Yet, parking policy is an arena that has been under appreciated and not organized around much.

9:45 A surge of publicity and media interest

Recent coverage of momentum on parking reform has included:

And we didn't even mention this week's spate of publicity about the Parking Reform Network's NEW downtown parking maps.

12:21  An inspiring donation!

We talked about PRN member Eric Ariano's inspiring decision to donate their insurance settlement from a hit-and-run crash to the Parking Reform Network. Many thanks to Eric!

14:59  Parkign Reform Network voices at various relevant events

PRN has had and will have a presence and a voice at various transport, planning and housing events, including the Transportation Research Board annual meeting, Curbivore, the Shared Use Mobility Summit, the Strong Towns national gathering, the Congress for the New Urbanism meeting, Urbanism Next, and others.

18:07 There is much YOU can do!

We discussed various ways that you can help with PRN's efforts.

This includes simply joining PRN of course! And then join our valuable Slack channels to learn and contribute.

You might offer to be a parking-reform contact point or correspondent in your organization as part of PRN's partnership program.

Or you can be a contact point in your locality.

Of course, PRN also needs donations and help with fund-raising.

You might volunteer or seek an internship.

You can send PRN news and tag PRN when you see parking reform items on social media.

Even just signing up for the PRN newsletter and subscribe to this podcast are great first steps.

20:06 How PRN can help you

The Parking Reform Network's Slack is very valuable with high-quality discussion, information and mutual aid among members.

PRN also has valuable resources for parking reformers and profesionals, such as the parking mandates map, which highlights hundreds of cities that have done some reforms to eliminate parking mandates, either in their entire city or in certain parts of their city.

PRN also has a new mapping project that shows how much surface parking and to some degree structured parking there are in numerous city centers. It's a place where you can get professional advice.

There are also great opportunities for access to key people in the movement.

22:39  Working on change in key organizations. Maybe you can help?

We talked about PRN and PRN member efforts to shift the positions of various professional organizations which have an influence on parking policy and practice. Key examples are the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the American Planning Association (APA)

Other countries have their own equivalents too.

If you are a member of these organizations or one of their committees or chapters, you can play a role by raising your voice for parking reform.

25:38  Call us trimtab! PRN is small but making a large difference

Tony mentioned an anecdote about the famous scientist, Buckminster Fuller, whose tombstone says, 'Call me trimtab'.

It is difficult to turn the rudder of a large ship. A small miniature rudder on the edge of the rudder applies a pressure that pulls the whole rudder around.

Tony:  "I think that's part of my theory of change here is, you know, we're trim tabs out here, exerting that small influence...  it's always worth it to just put a little bit of effort out there, like you said, because you never really know when that's going to come back and really have an impact."

Parking reform success often doesn't require many really parking-focused people In any particular city or organizastion. A few key people who understand the issue and are tapped into PRN can make a huge difference.

28:35  You don't have to be THAT into parking

We are aware, very few people have parking as their main thing.

Most PRN members joined after bad parking policy was getting in the way of some other advoacy goal or their organization's goals.

Reach out even if you are not sure what to do about that parking problem.

This summary was prepared with help from a transcription by

Listen to the audio episode here: 


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