A Fly in our Shoup…


A Fly in our Shoup…

What a great headline – Astrid found it over at Forbes and posted on parknews.biz. It’s written by a lawyer who posits its not the “High Cost of Free Parking,” but the high cost of NOT parking that’s causing congestion in our city centers.

It seems that TNC’s (Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft) are causing much of the congestion we experience in major metropolitan areas. If a city takes a Shoupista approach and sets parking prices high enough so there is always parking available and drivers will quickly find a place to park (or not drive in at all), fair enough. However this price does not affect TNCs. They don’t park.

The author suggests that a drop off charge be added to the fee charged by the TNC. That fee would change depending on the congestion in the area. If for instance, one is going to a concert, the further away from the venue you get dropped off, the less the drop off charge.

The drop off charge, for the concept to work, would have to be as much as it cost to drive yourself plus park. So if it cost say $30 to park, and the fee for the TNC was $10, then the total for the TNC would be $40.

The concept assumes that the city sets the parking fees in a Shoup manner. However the city only controls fees on spaces it owns (on street and city owns lots). The private market sets the fees on the rest.

If the congestion pricing lowers both private and TNC traffic, that means that parking lots will go unfilled. What would an owner of a private lot do in that case? Mightn’t the parking fees suddenly be lower? Would those lower fees attract more private drivers?

Our author would say that’s good, since TNCs never park and continue to cause congestion whether they are full or not. Thus the high cost of NOT parking.

All of this is well and good. But how do I get to the concert or ball game? If we price parking and TNCs so high that I can’t afford to drive, what now? There are no trains going where I need to go – buses are jammed. The concept might be great for commuter friendly cities like San Francisco and New York, but what about Houston, Dallas, LA, Miami, and the hundreds of other towns and cities around our fair land?

85% of all transportation in the US is in single vehicles, whether private or TNC. Who is going to pay for the infrastructure to replace that 85% when our betters price us out of the market?

Rapid Transit seems unable to pay for itself (witness the problems in New York and DC) so just who is going to foot the multi trillion dollar bill?

You know who…

All these ‘theories’ whether Shoupista or the Forbes article have one goal. Do away with private vehicles. But they never seem to have an alternative ready to go, unless you want to ride a bicycle or take a scooter to the concert or ball game.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. So this is what happens when a writer does the homework needed to write quality material. Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful content.

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