walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Parking Woes

I was telling someone from the PacNW recently about parking out here, specifically, the complex and angry rules surrounding parking spaces which have been shoveled out (this would be during a snowy winter, obvs). I went looking for an example of coverage, and found this:

http://somerville.wickedlocal.com/article/20150216/NEWS/150217257

It doesn't include the really good bits (like putting lawn furniture and similar into a plowed out spot to save it for later), but _does_ include an actual confrontation that led to charges.

You want older coverage? Cause this is _old_:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39654-2004Dec31.html

In 10 years, things _have_ become more lawful. Probably because the area has gentrified the less law-abiding residents out. I find it absolutely amazing that people who lived in the area felt that a few hours of shoveling somehow meant that spot was theirs for the whole winter/until the next snow storm. Seriously?

These days, the collection by officials of the lawn furniture used to save spaces generates fewer threats of mayhem and more problems of what to do with the crap that is collected:

http://patch.com/massachusetts/somerville/what-heck-somerville-supposed-do-all-these-parking-space-savers-0

I mention this, because NYT had coverage of California electric car charging slots that suggests they may be developing a similar dynamic:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/science/in-california-electric-cars-outpace-plugs-and-sparks-fly.html

The problem is roughly the same: inadequate negotiation and/or inadequate enforcement of negotiated allocation of a scarce resource. (Handicapped spots typically do not suffer from the same problem, because negotiation and enforcement is well developed. However, incidents do occur: http://ktla.com/2015/03/03/fight-over-a-handicap-space-outside-wal-mart-sends-71-year-old-to-hospital/ Trial started in September; I'm not sure if/how it turned out.)

Of course, I'm a nerd, so over the long haul, I think we should decrease/eliminate "free" parking on city streets and allocate _all_ parking. That way, if you drive into an urban area, you know _exactly_ where you are going to park and how long you can stay there and what it will cost, whether that's because you live there and you own/rent a spot associated with your living space, work there (ditto) or are visiting, and place your request for parking on your way in, receiving your allocation before it's time to come to a halt. There are people out there Who Should Know who claim that a lot of traffic in urban areas is people circling around looking for parking. If we allocated every single spot every single trip, we could put a stop to that circling once and for all. (With mobile phones and apps, of course. Payment to be determined through the usual collision of cost and public values.)

ETA: Shoup on street parking in the NYT just before the bust:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/29/opinion/29shoup.html

It's an opinion piece and boy does Shoup have opinions! But there are at least some citations you could track down on how much traffic is people crawling for parking. Shoup is arguing for fixing it by appropriate pricing. Typical of the app and cloud era, I'm in favor of fixing it with more information.
Tags: transportation
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