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HCoFP: chapter 14, California Cruising

(The series is back! See obvious tag for previous posts.)

In chapter 14, Shoup describes observational experiments he did in Westwood Village near UCLA, both observing parking spaces from the sidewalk and emulating parking cruisers on bicycles (on the grounds that drivers will avoid other obvious parking cruisers, so trying to find parking in their own cars risked distorting their observations.) Various results:

* Daytime: curb parking was 50 cents/hour, off-street was $1/hour. Evening: curbside was free, while off-street was $2-3 per entry.

* average cruising time from 8am to 8pm was 3.3 minutes. This includes early hours when there was no wait time as enough curbside parking was available. Evening cruise times were more like 10 minutes. At 10mph, this ranges from 0.5 to 1.5 miles spent per car looking for a parking space. 3.3 minutes gives two cars per block, circling it for parking; worse in the evenings, obviously.

* He suggested an alternate and simple if crude way to estimate how much of local traffic is cruising: given a newly vacated space, what percentage of the time does the first car to find the space park in it? If X% of cars are looking for parking, you'd expect X% of the time the first car would park. This suggested that once businesses opened, 2/3 of traffic was looking for parking, going as high as 96%.

* There's also a curve of cruising percentage vs. %spaces occupied, and it's very exponetial. Up to about 70% occupancy there's no search time, while at 90% there's a minute of search and 40% cruising, and at occupancies near 100% time and cruising %age just shoot up.

* He re-iterates the anti-social effects of cruising: through travelers want to drive quickly and smoothly, cruisers crawl around looking for spaces, and hold up a whole lane of traffic waiting -- or sometimes just hoping -- for a space. Basically, cruising increases traffic friction. Cruising probably contributes to accidents; certainly lots of accidents involve parking, from illegal U-turns to the other side of the street, to estimates that 18% of all urban accidents involve parking, and 40-60% of all mid-block accidents involve parking. Cruisers also degrades the envrionment for bicylists and pedestrians". Unpredictable traffic for bikers, plus blocking of the right lanes; cruisers tend to make right turns, getting in the way of crossing pedestrians; cruisers looking for spots may be less attentive to other traffic.

* Solo drivers are more likely to cruise, as with more people more time is being wasted, and off-street parking costs can be divided. 69% of curb cars were solo, vs. 53% of off-streets; curb vehicle occupance was 1.3 vs. 1.7 for off-street.

* A large share of curbside occupancy time is used by only a few cars that squat for multiple hours, contrary to the rapid turnover curbside is best suited for. Like, 5 cars out of 172 accounted for 20% of the parking occupancy, and just 2 of those accounted for 15%.

* The naive assumption is that cheap curbside parking is good for local businesses, but he argues that's not the case. Market-priced parking aiming at 85% occupancy and 0 search time means less time wasted, more rapid turnover, and higher vehicle occupancy. He gives calculations suggested that market pricing could more than double the number of people arriving in the village, though they wouldn't stay as long so just a modest increase in people at any one time.

* He estimates $9/hour "wages" of cruising in 1984, inflation adjusted to $15 (only that?) in 2002.

* Drivers actually overestimate the time they spend looking for parking.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/388414.html#comments



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 12th, 2014 01:42 am (UTC)
The ever-excellent inflation calculator says $15.47. So yes, only that.
Mar. 12th, 2014 01:42 am (UTC)
PS - what about my comment caused it to be marked as spam?
Mar. 12th, 2014 02:08 am (UTC)
I don't know. I'd guess a comment with a link from someone I haven't "friended".

Thanks for the link!
Mar. 12th, 2014 11:42 am (UTC)
Maybe a result of the link? Because, just to make it more confusing, the PS comment wasn't marked as spam.

Have fun with the link, I use it all the time. The data go back to 1800. Some day I'll ask the authors how they handled the Civil War.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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