Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Parking Controversy, Expenses and Too Much Parking?


by Spencer Marona, Managing Director

Parking is limited in Portland, Seattle and other major cities. All of us have been frustrated with the game of finding a parking spot.

Perhaps we have enough, but is the price too low? Somebody has to pay for parking—and that somebody is everybody.

Did you know that the average car spends about 95 percent of its lifetime parked? Were you also aware that parking subsidies in the United States are somewhere between 1 and 4 percent of the total Gross National Product?

Interestingly, between 1 and 4 percent of the total GNP is about the same range of what our nation spends on medicare or national defense according to Donald Shoup, Ph.D. Shoup is a professor at UCLA and a leading authority in transportation, a/k/a “The Godfather of Parking.” In a recent Freakonomics podcast titled, Parking is Hell, Shoup discusses some of his startling data points that will change the way you think about parking, urban sprawl, and ineffective city planning. For anyone who has ever complained about parking their car, including myself, this transcript is a must read.

After listening to the podcast and again reading, I am not entirely sure what my position is on parking, but I do know I probably won't complain as much when I cannot find a space.

“I think, you know, 50 years from now, when people look back on New York, and of course other cities, that they’ll say, ‘What did these people think they were doing?” 
– Donald Shoup, Ph.D.