Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Parking Madness Should Be In DSM IV

I share Atrios frustration.  Parking debates lead some otherwise rational, intelligent people I know to completely ignore logic and data, and adhere to almost religious arguments of the earth-is-flat, sun-revolves-around-earth variety.  And then there is that large cohort of less than rational or intelligent people . . .
What drives me nuts about parking-over-everything people is so often they get it wrong. They support curb cuts, which convert one public space into one private one. They demand new residents buy parking spots, ensuring that those new residents will be car owners, likely owning more than one.
But walk around Philly neighborhood and you'll find plenty of long term parkers. Cars which just sit there, almost if not completely unused. It currently costs $35/year to store your first car, $50/year for the second one, and $75/year for the third. That's new. Until this year, every car cost $35 for the initial permit and then $20/year for the renewal. $100/year for five cars. There's space on the street on most blocks for one car/home.
I don't think parking fees should be extremely punitive. I'm fine with that first car in a household being pretty cheap. But parking is a scarce resource in some neighborhoods, and it is way underpriced. It's so cheap that there's no disincentive for owning multiple cars. That's the parking problem. 
Eliminate minimum parking requirements.  Price street parking more rationally.  Improve access to transit. Ban most curb cuts and front-yard parking.

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