That’s an interesting term — My buddy David in Charlotte coined it in a recent comment to one of my posts. It begs the questions — "What is an ‘anti-Shoupista’ and why do we hear so little from them?’

As to what — I suggest that anti-Shoupistas are those that favor the status quo. That want money to flow from parking into the general fund, that want developers to be required to provide parking based on outdated and guesstimate type requirements, and most of all, want parking to be free or much below market rates. Now who could that be?

First, of course, we have the politicians that run our communities. The power to tax is the power to destroy and they are taxing our parking by taking the money generated and using it for purposes other than helping in the neighborhoods from whence it came. It goes into that black hole known as the general fund never to be seen again.  Second are the storekeepers who are ignorant of what proper parking policy can do to help their neighborhoods. They complain constantly but still allow their employees to park nearby, move their vehicles to get around parking charges, and blame their own shortcomings on virtually everyone else.

As to why we hear so little from them, I would suggest that they are like sleeping bears, and only awake when poked.  The shopkeepers complain when a customer says there is no convenient parking, but hears "no convenient "FREE" parking." The facts are that if parking prices were set properly, there would always be convenient parking. Politicians like to do nothing, as long as the money rolls in. They will be heard, when the citizenry stands up and demands results.

To sell the Shoup agenda one must first convince the storekeepers and landowners that a Shoup style parking policy is good for business and good for them. Once that is done, its up to the voters to convince the politicians to give back some (or all) of the money collected by parking to the local neighborhoods.  If the city dads and moms won’t do it, vote em out.

The parking community should be able to see how the Shoup agenda will help its members. First, off street parking will be more able to compete with on street because on street rates will be set higher than off street. Second enforcement will be most important and our members will thrive in that arena. Third, as an area grows and prospers so does its parking. A rising tide raises all boats.

We should be singing the Shoupista rules from the rooftops.

1. Set on street rates so 15% of the spaces are available at all times.
2. Return all monies generated from parking to the local neighborhoods from whose it came.
3. Unbundle parking charges from rents, and remove parking space requirements from stores and apartments. Let the owners decide how much parking they need, not city planners.

Three is important in the rejuvenation of downtowns. If a store that was a hardware and required 4 parking spaces out back is empty and a restaurant wants to open there, but the zoning code says 20 spaces are needed for restaurants, that means the building stands empty.  Without that code, the restaurant would open, and businesses would thrive in the area. People would park where it was available (on street or in near by lots) or the business owner would provide valet parking, or shuttles from parking that is available. They would do that or fail. Or maybe, just maybe, people would walk two blocks to get to the restaurant. Why not? If it was good enough.

If you build it, they will come.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Most parking seems to be managed through a non-coherent “strategy” that evolved over time without any consistent adherence to guiding principals. Shoupism is the exact opposite – a broad strategic approach to parking management that needs to be consistently applied through a wide variety of tactical measures. Why so few anti-Shoupistas? Because very few people ever think about overall parking management strategy, so they aren’t even in a position to oppose a strategy different from their own!
    Additionally, Shoupism makes so much sense, when rationally considered, that anti-Shoup arguments are simply difficult to make without resorting to obviously emotional or self-serving justifications.
    In the future there will be only two groups of parking managers – Shoupistas, and those that have not yet considered they even have an overall strategy beyond their day-to-day tasks with occasional “fire fighting” for big picture items that have gone unnoticed for too long.

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