Op-Ed: Zurich’s Parking Revolution

Parking policy and practice in a city is a marker, a litmus test  of its collective ws-parkingcommitment to an efficient and beautiful city.  More than that, the policy has to be carefully thought out, agilely negotiated and executed with long-term commitment.  Stop-and-start policies in such important areas are the mark of political immaturity. So if your city does NOT have such a policy, and is NOT applying it with continuity and consistency, then sorry to say you are far from the front rank of sustainable cities.

It’s a choice, a political choice, not only of those public servants and elected officials who are during their term responsible for transport, public space and life quality matters in the city, but above all, and ultimately far more important, the citizenry. The active citizenry. So with that behind us, let’s see what the fresh eyes of a visiting American academic and transportation engineer spotted and have to say about parking policy and performance in the beautiful city of Zürich. Continue reading

Op-Ed: Awful Injustice in Parking

Misguided parking policy is harmful and unjust.

No surprise there, you may say. There is no shortage of complaints about parking prices (“unfair!”) and about how difficult it is to find parking. We hear the same thing all over the world, whether in Sydney, San Francisco, Singapore, Moscow, Delhi , Jakarta, Beijing, Sao Paolo, Lagos or Nairobi.

Sorry to be unsympathetic. But complaints like those are a problem. They are fuel for the never-ending push for more parking and cheaper parking.

So what? Continue reading

Op-Ed: Awful Injustice in Parking

No Parking, No Business 3: Walking and cycling perspectives

Continuing  our coverage of the open “No parking, No business” conversation, more on walkability impacts/local economic development impacts, this time  from Todd Litman: selected references  from the “Walkability” chapter of the Online TDM Encyclopedia of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.  Continue reading

No parking, no business 2: What happens in the store.

On 23 June we asked the following open question to our readers “Has anyone out there ever run across a solid report or study showing that local businesses suffer financially when a zone is pedestrianized or made bike-accessible? Or that real estate prices take a nose dive when such improvements are made? Most of us here are familiar with the other side of this coin, but it occurred to me that this such critical references might be useful to us all, given that these local conflicts and claims come up time and time again in cities around the world.” Continue reading

No Parking, No Business 1: What if the other guy actually has a point?

Last Saturday morning, the 23rd of June, I thought to ask an open question to several of our New Mobility Agenda fora as follows:

Has anyone out there ever run across a solid report or study showing that local businesses suffer financially when a zone is pedestrianized or made bike accessible? Or that real estate prices take a nose dive when such improvements are made? Most of us here are familiar with the other side of this coin, but it occurred to me that this such critical references might be useful to us all, given that these local conflicts and claims come up time and time again in cities around the world.

Continue reading

Op-Ed: A rethinking of what parking is in the first place

“If your parking policy debates are going in circles, there is a good chance the protagonists are ‘framing’ parking in totally different ways.”  (Let’s see what Paul Barter of Reinventing Parking had to say  on this earlier today in Singapore.) Continue reading

“I prefer corruption to pollution”

The full message from Todd Edelman — as part of a discussion on the Sustran/Global South forum of attempts to limit parking in cities through regulation, which sometimes achieve at least some of their objectives, and at other times risk to open up opportunities for favoritism and corruption –reads: “Briefly (and simplistically): I prefer corruption to pollution.”  Now I find this a terrific provocative thought and while I leave you to sort that one out for yourself, here’s a bit of context on this important, powerful, unambiguous,  but nonetheless largely ignored policy issue behind his contentious phrase. Continue reading

Peer reviews on momo memorandum on carsharing — directed to the European Commission

Why this memorandum on carsharing and the European Commission?

- Eric Britton, Editor, World Streets
–  Read full report and peer commentaries here.

The sustainability agenda is not only important. It is critical.  Moreover it is critical for Europe and it is critical for the world.

Carsharing works and does an important job

In point of fact when it comes to sustainable transport in cities Europe is leading the way world-wide, as our cities one by one are starting to get control of motor cars  and in parallel begin to offer a broader array of better transport alternatives. There are more than two hundred cities across Europe today that are working on advancing the sustainable transport agenda though this two-pronged approach of car-control and new mobility options that work. And all of this against a background of near term actions that kick in within months and a few years at most. This is the proven European formula for sustainable mobility. Continue reading

Tragedy of the Commons: The car as enclosure

Chris Bradshaw, Canadian planner and new mobility innovator, takes us on a quick peek into cars as “enclosures” of what should more rightly be the common domain in our cities. When we look at it this way, the concept of a “right to park” starts to look quite different. We are once again back to the concept of “worst practices” on the one hand, and on the other, our the understanding of space as public, private . . . or social. All of a sudden we have a new and quite different base for discussion and policy. Continue reading

Free Parking Is for Socialists

Down with Free Auto Parking! Up with Free Market Parking!

- by Michael Andersen

THERE’S NOTHING like watching the degenerates of NW 23rd to make you wonder when liberal America’s war on families is going to end.

What frightens me most about this neighborhood isn’t the decadence. It’s the entitlement. These people now insist that the rest of us open our wallets to extend them special benefits at public expense.

I’m speaking, of course, of free automobile parking. Continue reading

Moving Beyond the Automobile – Exit Parking

The tenth and final video in Streetfilms’ Moving Beyond the Automobile series, looks into the necessary reasons and some of the techniques for parking reform. While the context is New York City, the  lessons are universal. From doing away with mandatory parking minimums, to charging the right price for curbside parking, to converting on-street parking spots into parklets and bike corrals, cities are latching onto exciting new ideas to make more room for people in our cities and repurpose the valuable public space that lines our streets. Continue reading

Parking realities in the real world: An example from Calcutta

Paul Barter reports on the basic principles of parking and real world contradictions from Calcutta, in an article posted yesterday to his new blog “Reinventing Parking: Understand your community’s parking policy choices”. And as many of our readers will recognise, it’s an old old story.
Continue reading

“The end of the parking meter”

This article  by Tom Vanderbilt appeared in yesterday’s Wired offering a readable review of the history of this remarkable American transportation invention and gift to the world, with good references to Donald Shoup‘s monumental “The High Cost of Free Parking” and Paul Barter’s Reinventing Parking blog. Every regular reader of World Streets is well aware that strategic parking control is one of the key pillars to a city transport system that is doing its job — but whether or not the key to this is going to be the old parking meter, well that we can leave you to judge. Continue reading

Kaohsiung 2010 Papers: Employer Share/Transport

Rory McMullan, Project Administrator of this year’s Kaohsiung conference, is one of the keynote speakers in the session which is reporting on ride/sharing as a tool for affordable and fair sustainable transport in and around our cities world-wide. In this presentation he undertakes to introduce a range of employer share/transport services for larger pubic sector and industrial employers in Taiwan. Continue reading

Parking slots are like . . . toilets?

This is supposed to be the fatal ten day stretch during which your valiant editor has promised to be out there pounding the pavement to secure sources of finance so that we can keep World Streets going. But every day interesting ideas and proposals for projects keep slipping in over the transom, some of which just too hard to resist. Here is today’s slip in his otherwise firm resolve. Sorry. Simply irresistible.
Continue reading

Worldwide Parking Scenarios: In New Delhi, five million vehicles and nowhere to park

Parking facts and policies are a wonderful often mysterious component of both the Old and New Mobility Agendas. Dead (i.e., parked) cars gobble up a huge amount of valuable public space in and around in our cities, on average of three to four times the number of moving cars. And while it is an enormously powerful transport policy tool (potentially), most cities and administrations run scared when it comes to taking a consistent, thought-out, strategic approach. Here are a few crisp words from Neha Lalchandani of The Times of India reporting on the present state of the parking art in that nation’s capital. More Old Mobility as you will see.

Demand For Parking Space In Delhi Exceeds
Capacity Over Three Times

- Neha Lalchandani from The Times Of India Mumbai; Date:2010 May 21;

New Delhi: Fears of our cities turning into concrete jungles can now take a backseat – they are turning into parking lots much sooner. With around 1,100 vehicles being added to Delhi’s streets each day, the city is struggling to find parking space for more than 5.2 million vehicles, in addition to those coming in daily from across the border.

Fears of our cities turning into concrete jungles can now take a backseat – they are turning into parking lots much sooner. With around 1,100 vehicles being added to Delhi’s streets each day, the city is struggling to find parking space for more than 5.2 million vehicles, in addition to those coming in daily from across the border.

Vehicles occupy an estimated 10.8% of the city’s urbanized area, increasingly threatening its green spaces. Their sheer numbers are also threatening to undo any benefits that Delhi might have accrued in switching over to CNG and mass transport systems like the Metro. Experts say unless using vehicles is aggressively discouraged, in the form of prohibitory parking charges, taxes and congestion fees, the air quality is unlikely to improve.

“The demand for parking space has clearly overshot the available capacity by as much as three times. The shortfall of space is in the range of 16-52%. The government needs to formulate a parking policy in which parking rates reflect the cost of real estate. That would make it a deterrent for car users,” says Sunita Narain, director of Centre for Science and Environment.

Going by 2005 records of daily registration of cars, demand for parking space exceeded 2.5 million sqm. “Transport planners consider 23sqm of land as appropriate to park an average car. This means in the prime business district of Connaught Place, the rent of such an area can be as high as Rs 36,000 per month. But users pay a minuscule sum for parking,” said Anumita Roychoudhury, in-charge of the Right To Clean Air Campaign for CSE.

The government has failed to come up with a comprehensive policy for parking. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) started charging land users a one-time fee for constructing parking space but that only serves to increase cost of parking to nearly Rs 4-6 lakh per car space, barely any of which will be recovered from the users. Underground parking lots, mostly beneath parks and green spaces, met with resistance from not just the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority but also resident welfare associations.

The New Delhi Municipal Council has recently introduced a graded parking fee in its areas.

“A shift to public transport can only be achieved if driving is not a convenient mode of travel. Big cities such as Portland, Seattle, Bremen, San Francisco, New York, Tokyo and Bogota among others have hiked parking fees and limited parking space to reduce car usage,” said Roychoudhury.

# # #

About the author:
Neha Lalchandani writes for The Times of India.

Note: A lakh is a unit in the Indian numbering system equal to one hundred thousand. Thus Rs 4-6 lakh per parking space translates to 400,000 to 600,000 Indian Rupees, equal roughly to USD 8-10,000. Just to give you an idea.

Thanks to Alok Priyanka and Sustran for the heads-up.

Shoup on how parking can make a street great

Donald Shoup has extensively studied parking as a key link between transportation and land use, with important consequences for cities, the economy, and the environment — and that is exactly why World Streets is pleased to welcome this thought-provoking contribution on parking as an instrument for creating great streets and cities that at once offer quality of life and an economy that works.

The Price of Parking on a Great Street:

- By Donald Shoup, Professor of Urban Planning, UCLA

How Can Curb Parking Contribute to Making a Street Great?
A city can (1) charge performance based prices for curb parking and (2) return the revenue to the metered districts to pay for added public services. With these two policies, curb parking will help to create great streets, improve transportation, and increase the economic vitality of cities.

Performance Parking Prices

Performance-based prices can balance the varying demand for parking with the fixed supply of curb spaces. We can call this balance between demand and supply the “Goldilocks principle” of parking prices: the price is too high if many spaces are vacant, and too low if no spaces are vacant. When a few vacant spaces are available everywhere, the prices are just right. After the city adjusts prices to yield one or two vacant spaces in every block (about 85 percent occupancy), everyone will see that curb parking is readily available. In addition, no one can say that performance parking prices will drive customers away if almost all curb spaces are occupied.

Prices that produce an occupancy rate of about 85 percent can be called “performance-based” for three reasons. First, curb parking will perform efficiently. The spaces will be well used but readily available. Second, the transportation system will perform efficiently. Cruising for underpriced curb parking will not congest traffic, waste fuel, and pollute the air.

Third, the economy will perform efficiently. The price of parking will be higher when demand is higher, and this higher price will encourage rapid parking turnover. Drivers will park, buy something, and leave quickly so that other drivers can use the spaces. Cities can achieve all these goals by setting curb parking prices to yield about an 85 percent occupancy rate.

Local Revenue Return

Performance prices for curb parking can yield ample public revenue. If the city returns this revenue to pay for added public spending on the metered streets, citizens are more likely to support the performance prices. The added funds can pay to clean and maintain the sidewalks, plant trees, improve lighting, bury overhead utility wires, remove graffiti, and provide other public improvements.

Put yourself in the shoes of a merchant in an older business district where curb parking is free and customers complain about a parking shortage. Suppose the city installs meters and begins to charge prices that produce a few vacancies. Everyone who wants to shop in the district can park quickly, and the city spends the meter money to clean the sidewalks and provide security. These added public services make the business district a place where people want to be, rather than merely a place where anyone can park free if they can find a space. Returning the meter revenue generated by the district to the district for the district’s own use can help to convince merchants and property owners to support performance prices for curb parking.

Suppose also that curb parking remains free in other business districts. Everyone complains about the shortage of parking, and drivers congest traffic and pollute the air while they search for curb parking. The city has no meter revenue to clean the sidewalks and provide other amenities. In which district would you want to have a business?

Performance prices will improve curb parking by creating a few vacancies, the added meter revenue will pay to improve public services, and these added public services will create political support for performance prices.

Parking Increment Finance

Most cities put their parking meter revenue into the city’s general fund. How can a city return meter revenue to business districts without shortchanging the general fund? The city can return only the subsequent increment in meter revenue–the amount above and beyond the existing meter revenue–that arises after the city begins to charge performance prices. We can call this arrangement parking increment finance.

Parking increment finance closely resembles tax increment finance, a popular way to pay for public investment in districts in need of revitalization. Local redevelopment agencies receive the increment in property tax revenue that results from the increased property values in the redevelopment districts. Similarly, business districts can receive the increment in parking meter revenue that results from performance parking prices.

More meters, higher rates, and longer hours of operation will provide money to pay for added public services. These added public services will promote business activity in the district, and the increased demand for parking will further increase meter revenue.

Performance Parking Prices in Practice

Some cities have begun to charge performance prices for curb parking and return the meter revenue to its source. Redwood City, California, sets meter rates to achieve an 85 percent occupancy rate for curb parking downtown; the rates differ both by location and time of day, depending on demand. The city returns the revenue to the metered district to pay for public parking structures, police protection, and cleaner sidewalks.

Merchants and property owners all supported the new policy when they learned the meter revenue would pay for added public services in the downtown business district, and the city council adopted it unanimously. Performance prices create a few curb vacancies so visitors can easily find a space, the added meter revenue pays to improve public services, and these added public services create political support for the performance prices.

Redwood City’s Parking Ordinance To accomplish the goal of managing the supply of parking and to make it reasonably available when and where needed, a target occupancy rate of eighty-five percent (85%) is hereby established.

The Parking Manager shall survey the average occupancy for each parking area in the Downtown Meter Zone that has parking meters. Based on the survey results, the Parking Manager shall adjust the rates up or down in twenty-five cent ($0.25) intervals to seek to achieve the target occupancy rate.

Revenues generated from on-street and off-street parking within the Downtown Meter Zone boundaries shall be accounted for separately from other City funds and may be used only within or for the benefit of the Downtown Core Meter Zone.

Sections 20.120 and 20.121 of the Redwood City Municipal Code

Most cities keep their meter rates constant throughout day and let occupancy rates vary in response to demand. cities can vary their meter prices to keep occupancy about 85 percent. The goal is to balance supply everywhere, all the time. Most cities also limit the length at meters so long-term parkers won’t monopolize the curb spaces. But after Redwood City adjusted meter guarantee the availability spaces, it removed limits at meters.

This unlimited-has turned out to with drivers who can for as long as they pay. The demand-meter rates create the most convenient spaces, and long-term tend to choose the cheaper spaces in off-street lots.

Other cities have also begun to adjust their meter ensure the availability of curb parking. The U.S. Department Transportation has awarded grants to Chicago, Los San Francisco to test performance prices for curb Washington, D.C., has already started them. Pasadena Diego return meter revenues to enhance public services metered districts.

We can call the balance between demand and supply the “Goldilocks principle” of parking prices.

Any city can use a pilot program to test Goldilocks prices for curb parking. All the city has to do is allow business district that requests a pilot program to have cost the city anything, because the meters pay for Dirty and unsafe streets will never be great, so the initially use the meter revenue to pay for clean-and-safe.

Many communities may value clean and safe more highly than free but overcrowded curb parking. community is clean and safe, the parking revenue urban amenities such as street trees, underground public transit improvements. Parking on a great street may not be free, but it will be convenient and worth the price.

# # #

About the author:
Professor Shoup is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University and the World Bank, and has served as Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning at UCLA. His influential book, The High Cost of Free Parking, is leading a growing number of cities to charge fair market prices for curb parking, dedicate the resulting revenue to finance public services in the metered districts, and reduce or remove off-street parking requirements. His research on employer-paid parking led to passage of California’s parking cash-out law, and to changes in the Internal Revenue Code to encourage parking cash out. He can be reached at shoup@ucla.

This article was adapted with permission of the author from a chapter in Planetizen Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning, edited by Abhijeet Chavan, Christian Peralta, and Christopher Steins. Washington, Island Press, 2007, pp. 52–56.

Nuova Mobilità reports on carsharing in Italy

As you are seeing in the other country reports in this series, the state of carsharing in 2010 is very much a different story in different places. To get a feel for the status of carsharing in Italy today, check out the latest article from our sister publication Nuova Mobilità, along with a choice: either the original article as it appears in Italian, or a machine translation into workable if not quite perfect English. Take your pick.
Continue reading

PARK(ing) Day in Cape Town (Not everybody loves it equally)

A few weeks back, a local police vehicle – which had been circling for a while – came to abrupt halt on a no-stopping line in front of me in Fish Hoek, and asked if my colleagues and I had permission to be in our parking bay*. The nearby businesses were complaining, you see; by occupying our bay, they said, we were preventing others from doing so, and this meant, no doubt, that their daily takings would suffer.

- By Gail Jennings, Cape Town, South Africa

The thing is, though, that around 40% of South Africans suffer every day precisely because they need to find a parking bay. The only way they can get about – constrained either by lack of public transport, or by an inability to conceive of taking shared transport – is by private car.

The other 60% suffer for quite the opposite reason: they don’t need a parking bay, they rely on public transport, which currently is unreliable, unintegrated, unsafe, unaffordable, inaccessible, unsustainable, and just plain unpleasant. And it’s not even public transport, come to think of it – it’s commuter transport, workwards in the morning, homewards in the evening, and little flexibility in-between.

Should businesses not perhaps be complaining about this, that they’re accessible only to people with private cars? In our world that’s heating up, depleted of fossil fuels, with dimished urban and quality open spaces, increased road deaths, congestion, road rage and lack of access to health care, education and economic opportunities, use of the private car as we know it – and its space-hungry requirement of parking bays – is on its way out.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that we hang on to what we know for as long as possible, resisting a change to what we regard as less convenient; less flexible; less, well, personal, ways of moving around.

But as Jeremy Cronin, deptuy minister of transport, puts it: ” We have to respond to the challenge of access not with cars or more freeways [or more parking!], but with with intelligent public transport, non-mortorised transport, accessiblity and urban redesign.

‘In South Africa we are blessed and cursed with the reality that at least 60% of households don’t have cars. And while that’s a good thing, it’s also a terible thing for those who don’t have the car, because it makes them immobile.

‘The struggle to achieve the right to moblity is inextricably linked to the struggle for public space, for decent, safe, dignified and accessible public space.’

The car is the least space-efficient, least socially equitable and least environmentally responsible mode of transport, yet it is currently given preferential treatment.

Which is why on 18 September, I – and thousands of people worldwide – temporarily transformed my (paid-for) parking space into a public park as part of an annual event called PARK(ing) Day.

I shared my sunny ‘park’ bench with other civic-minded souls; with passing dog-walkers, who welcomed a rest en-route home; with butchery workers who were otherwise planning to spend their lunch hour on the hard sidewalk in the damp and icy shade; and with shop owners who took a coffee break while unpacking stock. I even ordered a pizza delivery from one of said businesses, and watched over a number of bicycles parked in ‘my’ bay next door (you can fit about 10 bicycles in the space of one car).

In cities around the world, inexpensive street parking results in more traffic, wasted fuel and more pollution, and the strategies that generated these conditions are not sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant urban human environment. Our public spaces are public assets, yet we allocate an estimated 70% of our urban open spaces to privately owned vehicles.

The unprecedented urban growth taking place in developing countries reflects the hopes and aspirations of millions of new urbanites, suggests the United Nations Population Fund, 2007. ‘Cities have enormous potential for improving people’s lives, but inadequate urban management, often based on inaccurate perceptions and information, can turn opportunity into disaster.’

South African cities, and cities as a ‘lifestyle concept’, for want of a better way to put it, historically developed because rural people wanted to be closer to economic opportunities, other people, food, markets, and a sense of being where it’s all happening. Yet with sprawling, low-density, spatially segregated cities such as Cape Town, quite the opposite has happened. Social exclusion, long commute distances, high transport costs, poor-quality urban environments, isolated, dangerous and inaccessible parks, dwindling resources…

To quote Jeremy Cronin once more, there are several key factors in our society that continue to actively reproduce inequality, poverty and underdevelopment. ‘And one of these is the fact that spatial configuration of our society in which where you live impacts dramatically on the cost in time and money that it takes you to access work, education and any of your basic constitutional and other rights.’

Low-density, sprawling neighbourhoods are more likely to need motorised transport (the densities are not enough to support viable, unsubsidised public transport) and contribute to social isolation. And excessive traffic and high-speed freeways can separate communities and make sustainable modes of transport, such as walking and cycling, more difficult to use.

Higher-density neighbourhoods, on the other hand, with a good mix of land-use and inter-connectivity, facilitate walking and cycling, sustain public transport and are generally safer (because there’re more eyes on the street).

If Cape Town is to become a city within which it is easy to access opporunities, be they opportunities for health-care, education, work or leisure, the city must break away from its current radial movement pattern that focuses on the central city, and create a strong network of cross-city roads, public transport and walking and cycling routes that connect and link homes, work places, shops and social facilities.

Urban planning has been used to startlingly effective degree to engineer social injustice. So it’s not too much of a stretch to see how quality, safe, affordable, accessible and largely sustainable mass public transport (such as the proposed Integrated Rapid Transit – IRT – system), better pedestrian and bike-commuting facilities, and more urban spaces in which butchery workers can sit and share their lunch, can lay the foundation for a sounder economy and more sustainable, equitable society.

• Yes, we did ;-)

# # #

Gail Jennings is the editor MOBILITY magazine, a quarterly pro-sustainability transport magazine with a focus on public planning, public transport, road safety and the democratic use of road and other public space. Visit http://www.mobilitymagazine.co.za or http://emag.mobilitymagazine.co.za.

Honk! Park(ing) Day is September 18th, 2009 . (And World Streets invites you to park yourself next Friday)

What’s a simple, cheap, highly visual, and eminently practical way to demonstrate some of the advantages of finding alternatives to our existing car-heavy culture? If you’re Rebar, a San Francisco art and design collective, the answer is PARK(ing) Day. Go for it!

- by Robert Moskowitz, Santa Monica, California

PARK(ing) PARK(ing) Day is an annual, full day, global event that encourages artists, activists, and ordinary citizens to “take back” part of their local car-oriented infrastructure by temporarily transforming conventional metered parking spaces into public parks.

The idea is so simple, it’s brilliant. For the price of a parking spot, concerned citizens can grab possession of some prominent public square footage, and create a 3-D “diorama” about urban life as it could be lived, once we all become less dependent on individualized transportation systems.

Intended strictly as a non-commercial project and promoted as a way to tap into individual and collective creativity, Park(ing) Day has become an engine of civic engagement, critical thinking, unscripted social interactions, human generosity and interpersonal play.

Providing temporary public open space . . .one parking spot at a time.

The practice of seizing control of metered parking space and turning it to other uses dates back at least to the 1930’s, when citizens of Oklahoma City played cards in parking spaces to protest the installation of those new-fangled instruments of Fascism: parking meters!

The idea was re-conceived in 2005, and quickly implemented when several members of Rebar seized control of a single metered parking space and ingeniously began using it as a public park. For maximum impact, they choose to do this in an area of San Francisco notably short of publicly accessible open space. The goal was simply to demonstrate that paying the metered price for a public parking space enables one to control that precious urban real estate for recreational purposes, at least for a short while.

According to Rebar, as much as 70% of San Francisco’s downtown outdoor space is dedicated to cars, trucks, busses, trolleys, and other forms of transportation. In comparison, much less space has been set aside for people. The Park(ing) Day movement started out as an effort to creatively explore how urban public space is currently allocated, and how it could be used differently. Rebar was curious to learn what people might do with that space, once given the opportunity.

Since then, PARK(ing) Day has become a worldwide phenomenon, supported, controlled, and advanced by independent groups of artists, activists and citizens.

PARK(ing) Day 2008 included more than 500 “PARK” installations in more than 100 cities on four continents. This year, the project continues to expand to urban centers across the globe, including first-time PARK installations in South Africa, Poland, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea.

PARK(ing) Day participants have also broadened the scope to fulfill a range of unmet social needs. “From public parks to free health clinics, from art galleries to demonstration gardens, PARK(ing) Day participants have claimed the metered parking space as a rich new territory for creative experimentation, activism, socializing and play,” says Blaine Merker of Rebar.

In San Francisco, Rebar will deploy its “PARKcycle” – a pedal-powered mobile park, capable of delivering public green space where and when it is needed. “This year we’re going to outfit the PARKcycle with a new type of park. We are keeping the details secret, but we’ll be out pedaling around and visiting other PARK(ing) Day installations around the city,” says Rebar’s Teresa Aguilera. “If you live or work in San Francisco, keep your eyes open for a twenty-two foot long park pedaling through the streets. It will be hard to miss.”

To help make the dream a reality, Rebar has found support from several non-profits, including The Trust for Public Land, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, and Public Architecture, that share the collective’s values and concerns about urban space. The growth and dissemination of PARK(ing) Day ideas and literature, such as the posters accompanying this article, would not have been possible without their support.

Basic Rules for a PARK(ing) Day Installation

Rebar encourages adaptation and “remixing” of the basic “park in a parking space” concept that characterizes Park(ing) Day, and especially encourages participants to consider going beyond the standard combination of grass, bench, and shade. Park(ing) Day parks have been used to examine and address a wide range of other needs in local urban contexts.

However, Rebar encourages adherence to a few simple rules, if only to preserve the original spirit and intent of the celebration. They include:

1) Non-Commercial Sensibility. Everyone who participates in PARK(ing) Day and uses its name must agree not to include any advertising and not to sell or in any way promote any commercial goods or services in or around their temporary park. The only exception is the free “Mark your PARK” poster from Rebar’s website (http://parkingday.org/), which includes a space for commercial organizations and merchants to insert their business names or logo. No other form of advertising is permitted in or near a Park(ing) Day park.

2) Give Credit To PARK(ing) Day, by including the following on all websites, press releases, flyers and other promotional materials: “PARK(ing) Day was originally created in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, as an experimental exploration in repurposing public space.” Although not the original inventor of the concept, Rebar does have rights to the “PARK(ing) Day” name and logo.

The term “PARK(ing) Day” is a registered service mark of Rebar Group, Inc., which grants free rights to the name for use in any non-commercial capacity related to PARK(ing) Day events, provided proper credit is given.

3) Waiver of Liability. Participation in PARK(ing) Day is open and undertaken at your own risk! Participants are acting independently of Rebar Group, Inc. and its owners, employees, officers, directors, members, volunteers, agents, assignees and partners, none of whom are liable for their actions. Rebar asks participants to please download and read their disclaimer/waiver of liability

Participants in PARK(ing) Day can, and probably should, connect with others around the world, and “register” their PARK by adding their PARK to the 2009 Map (http://my.parkingday.org/page/community-map-2009). Rebar says this will help increase the number of visitors at your park, because on PARK(ing) Day people like to tour local installations in their neighborhoods.

# # #

About the author:

Robert Moskowitz is a business consultant, author, and time management “guru” who has founded two non-profits, worked as a Senior Consultant for Hill and Knowlton, helped develop several Internet startups, and won an Emmy for his work on a Public TV series about personal finances. He has written extensively on topics ranging from aging to investment, the Internet, marketing, business management, and more. He writes: “I am here cause I feel in my bones we’re living profligately on the planet and we need to find a formula for establishing quality of life without destroying the environment. Obviously, sustainable development and new modes of transport are key ingredients in such a formula.”

Honk: Find-a-parking-spot contest

The city of Tel Aviv has all the natural attributes of a place where carsharing is part of the new mobility solution: tight urban form, plenty of mixed use, high incomes, plenty of people ready to try new ideas (the “Mediterranean’s New Capital of Cool”), and some, it is said, attention to costs. Here is how their carshare operator is calling attention to the Achilles heel of carsharing, parking.

Tel Aviv: ‘Find-a-Parking-Spot Contest’ Highlights Car-Sharing

by Hillel Fendel – http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/133065

How to deliver 24 newly-arrived cars from the port to dealers in Tel Aviv? Have drivers take them there, competing along the way to be the first to find a parking spot!

The contest will be held this Friday and will be used to call attention to both the lack of parking spots in Tel Aviv and the advantages of car-sharing systems gaining in popularity around the world.

Israel’s car-sharing company is Car2Go, which was founded last year in the city of Ulm, Germany. The system’s advantages are that the cars can be rented by the hour or day, picked up and dropped off almost anywhere, and can be reserved with almost no advance

In addition, from municipal and national standpoints, the car-sharing systems offer considerable savings in traffic congestion, pollution, and parking availability. Car2Go reports that each one of its cars replaces 15 cars on the roads and frees up 14 parking spots.

Naom Margalit, who heads the Car2Go company in Israel, would like the Tel Aviv municipality to follow the example set by other cities around the world and designate – for a monthly fee – parking spots for his company. He explains: “The idea for the contest was born when we looked for an original and creative way to get 24 new cars from the importer to the dealers. The competition illustrates the parking problem in Tel Aviv and the daily race for a spot in which Tel Aviv drivers take part, and raises public awareness of the advantages of designating parking spots for us.”

The Tel Aviv municipality is reportedly interested in the idea, but no decision has been made of yet.

The system works roughly as follows: A fleet of vehicles is made available for Car2Go members, parked in specially-designated spots and available for use at any time. A car can be “hired” by flashing one’s driver’s license – equipped with special chips for the purpose – at the windshield, thus checking to see if the car is “taken” or “available.” If the former, the user will be informed of the nearest available car. The customer then gets in, types in his personal PIN number as well as other information, such as the condition of the car, and drives off. When he finishes – an hour, day or even a month later – he parks the car in another designated spot, logs out, and is billed monthly.

Car2Go reports that over 400,000 people currently take part in car-sharing systems in 600 cities in 18 countries around the world. The “Mobility” company is the largest of its kind in Switzerland, which has a population similar to that of Israel, and serves 70,000 drivers with an array of 2,000 cars.

Friday’s contest will be held in three stages. It will begin at the Reading Power Plant parking lot, where 24 pairs of contestants will get into freshly-arrived new cars. At the signal, they will dash off to find parking spaces, in accordance with special instructions they will receive via SMS and envelopes at various points along their trip. Points will be taken off for traffic violations. A vacation for two will be granted to the winner, and other prizes will be awarded to the other contestants.

Downtown? Don’t even think of parking here!

Policy overview of “Strategies for discouraging surface parking lots downtown” by Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, noting that some cities implement parking maximums (also called “lids”) which limit the total number of parking spaces in an area, or place a limit on temporary commercial parking lots.

Strategies for discouraging surface parking lots downtown

Parking Maximums http://www.vtpi.org/park_man_comp.pdf – refers to a situation in which an upper limit is placed on parking supply, either at individual sites or in an area. Area-wide limits are called Parking Caps. These can be in addition to or instead of minimum parking requirements (Manville and Shoup, 2005).

Excessive parking supply can also be discouraged by reducing public parking supplies, imposing a special parking tax, and by enforcing regulations that limit temporary parking facilities.

Maximums often apply only to certain types of parking, such as long-term, single-use, free, or surface parking, depending on planning objectives. These strategies are usually implemented in large commercial centers as part of integrated programs to reduce excessive parking supply, encourage use of alternative modes, create more compact development patterns, create more attractive streetscapes, and preserve historic buildings.

It could be argued that maximums are as unnecessary as minimum parking requirements. Parking regulations could simply be eliminated, allowing property owners to determine how much parking to supply at their sites. However, parking minimums have been applied for decades, resulting in well-established transport and land use market distortions. As a result, left to itself the market may be slow to reach an optimal level, so parking maximums may be necessary to achieve quicker benefits.

Since businesses may consider abundant, free, on-site parking to convey a competitive advantage, individual firms often find it difficult to reduce supply. Parking maximums that apply equally to all businesses may be an acceptable and effective way to reduce supply in an area. A study comparing various cities found that (Martens, 2006):

• Many European cities restrict commercial building parking supply, ranging from 270 to 500 square meters of office floor area per parking space (approximately 0.2 to 0.37 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet).

• Management of on-street and off-street public parking spaces is a natural complement of restrictive norms with regard to private parking places.

• Restrictive parking policies and public transport improvements support each other, but major transit service improvements need not precede adoption of parking restrictions.

• Restrictive city center parking policies have been introduced without strict regulations preventing unwanted suburbanization of economic activities.

• Case studies suggest that parking restrictions will not have negative economic impacts if implemented in cities with a strong and vibrant economic structure.

The City of Seattle requires that major institutions which propose to provide more than 135% of minimum required parking supply develop a transportation management plan to help reduce trip generation and parking demand (SMC 23.54.016). San Francisco places a two year limit on the use of vacant downtown parcels for parking lots, to encourage redevelopment (Manville and Shoup, 2005).

For more information on various parking management strategies see:

* Todd Litman (2006), Parking Management Best Practices, Planners Press (www.planning.org); http://www.vtpi.org/PMBP_Flyer.pdf.

* Todd Litman (2006), Parking Management: Strategies, Evaluation and Planning, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org); at http://www.vtpi.org/park_man.pdf.

* Michael Manville and Donald Shoup (2005), “People, Parking, and Cities,” Journal of Urban Planning and Development, December, 2005, pp. 233-245; at http://shoup.bol.ucla.edu/People,Parking,CitiesJUPD.pdf; summarized in Access 25, (www.uctc.net), Fall 2004, pp. 2-8.

* MTC (2007), Developing Parking Policies to Support Smart Growth in Local Jurisdictions: Best Practices, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (www.mtc.ca.gov); at http://www.mtc.ca.gov/planning/smart_growth/parking_seminar/BestPractices.pdf .

* Redwood City (2007), Downtown Parking, Redwood City ( http://www.ci.redwood-city.ca.us/cds/redevelopment/downtown/parking.html). The City’s Parking Management Plan is at http://www.ci.redwood-city.ca.us/cds/redevelopment/downtown/Parking/Downtown%20Redwood%20City%20Parking%20Plan.pdf .

* San Francisco (2009), On-Street Parking Management and Pricing Study, San Francisco County Transportation Authority (www.sfcta.org); at http://www.sfcta.org/content/view/303/149.

* Schaller Consulting (2006), Curbing Cars: Shopping, Parking and Pedestrian Space in SoHo, Transportation Alternatives (www.transalt.org); at http://www.transalt.org/campaigns/reclaiming/soho_curbing_cars.pdf.

* Seattle (2001), Parking: Your Guide to Parking Management, City of Seattle ( http://www.cityofseattle.net/planning/transportation/pdf/Parkingguide.pdf).

* Donald Shoup (1999), “The Trouble With Minimum Parking Requirements,” Transportation Research A, Vol. 33, No. 7/8, Sept./Nov., pp. 549-574; at http://www.vtpi.org/shoup.pdf.

* Ventura (2008), Downtown Parking Ordinance, City of Ventura (www.ci.ventura.ca.us).

* Richard Voith (1998), “The Downtown Parking Syndrome: Does Curing the Illness Kill the Patient?” Business Review, Vol. 1 ( http://www.phil.frb.org/files/br/brjf98dv.pdf), pp 3-14.

* Rachel Weinberger, Mark Seaman and Carolyn Johnson (2008), Suburbanizing the City: How New York City Parking Requirements Lead to More Driving, University of Pennsylvania for Transportation Alternatives ( http://www.transalt.org/files/newsroom/reports/suburbanizing_the_city.pdf).

# # #

Todd Litman is founder and executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transport problems. His work helps to expand the range of impacts and options considered in transportation decision-making, improve evaluation techniques, and make specialized technical concepts accessible to a larger audience. He can be reached at: 1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, Canada. Email: litman@vtpi.org. Phone & Fax: +1 250-360-1560

What if everyone drove to work this morning?

And now let us turn to the Big Apple, New York City, and listen to what they have to tell us about what would happen if tomorrow everyone who normally commutes into the city by subway decided instead to drive in and park their car. For the non-initiated, that is for non-New York natives, this piece, originally written to the local language, has been prepared for the ROW and is divided into three parts: (a) map, (b) rant, (c)lexicon.

– Original posting to Streetsblog NY by Brad Aaron on August 10, 2009

1. The Map:

Let’s start with their map:

You probably can already see what they are up to. It might be interesting and instructive to run a similar drill for such a transfer in your city. If you do, please share your map and basic nunbers with us. We will surely publish it.

2. The rant (that is the original language Streetsblog NY piece):

[The map shows the . . . ] amount of space that would be needed for cars if subway-riding New Yorkers thought like, say, a certain assemblyman from Westchester.

Sure, knocking the MTA is a favorite local past time, particularly for the politicians and press who are practically guaranteed a “Hallelujah!” chorus for every barb (today’s scandal: fat cat transit workers poised to rake in cost-of-living allowance!!). But despite the MTA’s problems, as Michael Frumin points out on his Frumination blog, the city’s streets and highways can’t hold a candle to the subways when it comes to moving commuters into and out of Manhattan’s Central Business District.

Parsing data derived from 2008 subway passenger counts and the NYMTC 2007 Hub Bound Report [PDF], Frumin writes:

Just to get warmed up, chew on this — from 8:00AM to 8:59 AM on an average Fall day in 2007 the NYC Subway carried 388,802 passengers into the CBD on 370 trains over 22 tracks. In other words, a train carrying 1,050 people crossed into the CBD every 6 seconds. Breathtaking if you ask me.

Over this same period, the average number of passengers in a vehicle crossing any of the East River crossings was 1.20. This means that, lacking the subway, we would need to move 324,000 additional vehicles into the CBD (never mind where they would all park).

At best, it would take 167 inbound lanes, or 84 copies of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, to carry what the NYC Subway carries over 22 inbound tracks through 12 tunnels and 2 (partial) bridges.

At worst, 200 new copies of 5th Avenue. Somewhere in the middle would be 67 West Side Highways or 76 Brooklyn Bridges. And this neglects the Long Island Railroad, Metro North, NJ Transit, and PATH systems entirely.

Take a gander at the map above to get an idea of the real estate that would be taken up by all those cars. Think such a proposition would lead John Liu to base his stances on congestion pricing and bridge tolls on principle, rather than wind direction? Could Deborah Glick overlook her personal hatred for the billionaire mayor long enough to save her constituents from carmaggedon? Would the prospect of seeing his district literally transformed into a parking lot prompt Sheldon Silver to finally take an unequivocal stand favoring transit over car commuting?

Right. Probably not.


3. The lexicon

New York for Dummies Guide for non-New Yorkers

MTA is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority , the organization responsible for delivering public transportation for the New York Region. MTA subways, buses, and railroads provide 2.6 billion trips each year to New Yorkers – http://www.mta.info/

NYMTC is the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council is an association of governments, transportation providers and environmental agencies that is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley. – http://www.nymtc.org/

Individual local heroes named or hinted at: See links in article.

# # #
Brad Aaronhas written extensively on government, business, education, the environment, urban planning and transportation, among other topics, began freelancing for Streetsblog NY in early 2007 and became Deputy Editor in February 2008. He lives in Inwood, at the northernmost tip of Manhattan, where he can always get a seat on the A train.

Wikipedia Alert – Donald Shoup "may not meet the notability guideline for academics"?

Like it or not Wikipedia is now on the first line of references for not only journalists but also scholars, policy makers and many others. We treat it with a certain reserve, at times suspicion, and rightly so. But we treat it and treat it often, so that’s why it’s a resource we do well to keep an eye on. And tend to when useful. Now is one of those times.

Here is a case in point for lovers of cities and sustainable lives that I invite those of you who care about these things to jump in and do what you have to do.

The current entry on Donald Shoup – a major international figure who has with his work and insights over the last generation guided and helped us to understand the role, potential and keys to parking in cities – is extremely slight. That’s not problem since it is accurate, and if you dig into the history section there you will see that someone has just taken a minute in June to open up an entry on him. That is standard WP procedure. No problem there.

But the problem is that one of the Wikipedia roaming rangers has, in all good faith, added a large qualifying tag on top of his entry which reads: “This article may not meet the notability guideline for academics. Please help to establish notability by adding reliable, secondary sources about the topic. If notability cannot be established, the article is likely to be merged or deleted.” Oh dear.

The address of the reference is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Shoup. So now you know what you have to do.


Honk! Lessons from a shopping trolley

Lessons from a shopping trolley (more mobility with fewer cars)

- Michael Glotz-Richter, Senior Advisor Sustainable Mobility, Bremen

Ever considered buying a shopping trolley of your own? After all, it would be convenient to have one available anytime you want to buy a litre of milk. You could store it in your living room or the kids’ playroom when you aren’t using it. And if we each bought one, just think how we would be supporting the shopping trolley industry.

Proud family with their late-model shopping trolley

Now think about our “urban living room” – our cities – and about how we use that space. Studies have shown that, on average, most cars are parked for 23 hours a day. Do we really want to use so much valuable space for storing vehicles?

One pragmatic and proven solution is Car-Sharing. Car-Sharing supplements public transport, walking and cycling by providing a ‘car-on-call’ for its customers whenever they need it. It also starts to break the perceived link between car ownership and mobility.

In Germany today, there are currently about 140,000 Car-Sharing customers, more than 5,000 of whom live in the city of Bremen. Bremen (population 550,000) has a well-integrated public transport system and good conditions for cycling. Almost 60% of all trips there are made by walking, cycling and public transport – good preconditions to reclaim “living space” from parking for social and ecological purposes.

* Click here for brief Momo video on carsharing in Bremen.

Bremen has established – and is expanding – a series of so-called “mobility points” (“mobil.punkt”) which integrate on-street Car-Sharing stations with bike parking near public transport stops. The city is also creating a Car-Sharing development plan to help integrate it as one crucial component of a wider strategy toward a culture of sustainable mobility.

In Bremen, the more than 5,000 individuals have taken 1,000 private cars off the road by becoming Car-Sharing members, and there is evidence of changing mobility patterns: for the first time ever, statistics show a decline in the number of cars (-1.6%) despite an increase in population (+0.2%). At the same time, public transport use has increased by 3.6%.

But the potential in Bremen, and elsewhere, is still tremendous. Cities worldwide could benefit by integrating all public transport services – including the ‘car-on-call’ – to make their urban spaces more attractive, liveable, and free from excess ‘shopping trolleys.’

Bremen was selected to present its approach to sustainable urban mobility as an ‘urban best practice’ at the 2010 World Expo (Better City, Better Life) in Shanghai.

Michael Glotz-Richter is Senior Advisor “Sustainable Mobility” in the City of Bremen’s Department for Environment, Construction, Transport and European Affairs. He has served as initiator and coordinator of several EU projects on Car-Sharing like “moses” (Mobility Services for Urban Sustainability) 2001-2005 and the current intolerably named project in the EU-energy-efficiency-program: “momo Car-Sharing” (“more options for energy efficient mobility through Car-Sharing”).
References: www.momo-cs.eu – Contact: momo@umwelt.bremen.de