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HCoFP: chapter 1

I finally got my hands on The High Cost of Free Parking via Interlibrary Loan. The sound you don't hear is a silent "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" of anticipation in my head. It's 700 pages on an obscure subject I think is very important. Expect lots of blogging.

* Parking is free for 99% of US automobile trips. An average car spends 95% of its time parked.
* The required parking lot at a restaurant usually occupies at least 3x as much land as the restaurant itself. (This is particularly amazing for me to imagine, as I typically live in or go to places where restaurants don't have their own lots, let alone ones 3x the size of the restaurant. What waste!)
* US motor vehicles consume 1/8 of the world's oil.
* If the world owned cars at US rates there would be 4.7 billion cars, vs. 735 million today. A parking lot for them would be the size of England or Greece. If there are four spaces per car (home, work, two other locations) you'd need to pave France or Spain.
* Curbside parking is a commons. Many towns perversely make it worse by disabling their meters around Christmas, reducing the price just when demand peaks; drivers pay in long search/cruise times instead.
* Lead was prescribed medically for centuries, despite people like Ben Franklin catching on to its toxic effects. Occasionally it would work, if it killed germs or worms faster than it killed you. His analogy is not to leaded gasoline but to free-parking zoning laws as a long-term dubious local cure (mandating off-street parking solves the curbside parking hunt) that poisons the patient (cities.)

* He quotes a description of a 1900 medical text. There was a recommended cure for everything, doctors had to do *something*, said cures having to be learned by rote since after all they made no sense and from our POV would typically make things worse. Strychnine, belladonna, mercury... The analogy here is that a lot of parking laws are learned by rote, or rather copied blindly. "A gas station must provide 1.5 parking spaces per fuel nozzle, and a mausoleum must provide 10 parking spaces per maximum number of interments in a one-hour period. Why? Nobody knows."
* He notes Jane Jacobs' comparison of urban renewal to bloodletting.
* Free parking causes problems resembling iatrogenic (physician-caused, like lead poisoning or bloodletting anemia) illnesses.

* An average of 30% of cars in congested traffic were cruising for parking. "Cruising increases vehicle travel without increasing either vehicles or real travel." Congested traffic, wasted time, squandered fuel, polluted air.

* New Zealand hs 4 million people in a country 10% larger than the United Kingdom. Has lots of cars per capita, naturally; not as many as the US. Lots of them are used imports from Japan.

* A typical parking lot holds 130 cars per acre, or 83,200 cars per square mile.

* Technology may improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, but it can't reduce parking space requirements of the individually owned car.

* Of trips less than 50 miles, 87% were made by personal vehicle. (I assume he means motor.) 1.5% by public transit, 1.7% by school bus, 8.6% walking, 1.7% other (bicycles?)

* He says his recommendations at the end will be to charge market prices for parking, return meter revenues to the local neighborhoods, and remove zoning requirements for off-street parking.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/350831.html#comments



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Feb. 19th, 2013 01:49 am (UTC)
Eeeeeee! I so want to read this!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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