A Line in the Sand: Shoup VS. O’Toole


A Line in the Sand: Shoup VS. O’Toole

A business-section commentary in The New York Times, the start of a new parking program in San Francisco, and a very public debate between UCLA urban planning professor don shoup and senior fellow Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute have created a perfect storm in the parking industry. PT’s Blog has been carrying the story in real-time over the past month. We have seen it go “viral” (see sidebar) on the internet.
This has brought the discussion from the pages of trade journals and specialty blogs to the Main Stream Media. The NY Times, Washington Post, SF Examiner, LA Times and TV stations nationwide are discussing parking and whether “free” is the way to go.
These two articles give different views of the controversy. Consultant Patrick Siegman has worked with the city of San Francisco to put Shoup’s parking model into practice on a large scale. Consultant Peter Guest, a regular Parking Today contributor, has worked with cities worldwide in solving their parking issues. Both have real-world experience. Both bring credentials to the discussion.
For a detailed background on Shoup’s theories, and some tough dialogue between him and some detractors, check the links in the sidebar “Parking Gone Viral.”

Parking Going Viral
It’s every blogger’s dream. A posting on your blog gets picked up and referenced far and wide. Suddenly, people are coming to your website, your numbers are off the charts. You have arrived.
Parking has arrived. A few weeks ago, The New York Times printed “Free Parking Comes at a Price,” ‘a commentary by Tyler Cowen, a Professor of Economics at George Mason University. It caused quite a stir in the elite media.
Since no one reads books but everyone reads New York Times and blogs, five years after Shoup’s book “The High Price of Free Parking” was published, his model suddenly went viral and literally hundreds of bloggers commented, pro and con.
One of the most famous “cons” was from Randal O’Toole, a Cato Institute Senior Fellow who works on urban growth, public land and transportation issues. He commented on Cowen’s viewpoint in “Free Markets for Free Parking,” taking umbrage with much of Shoup’s parking model.
Shoup tells PT that he normally doesn’t comment on blog postings, but since the Cato Institute and O’Toole are so well-known and -respected, he decided to do so in this case. PT thought this controversy so important that it posted Shoup’s entire response to O’Toole on its Blog here.
We suggest you first read Cowen’s commentary, then O’Toole’s reaction to it, and then Shoup’s response to O’Toole. The latter clarifies much that we have seen in the blogosphere about the Shoup parking model. Diehard Shoupistas already know all this, but for the rest of you, it will save you the trouble of reading the book.
If you go online to www.parkingtoday.com and click on our “e” magazine, you will find all the links above “hot.” If not, go directly to: http://parkingtoday.typepad.com/parking_blog/2010/09/don-shoup-strikes-back-.html. All the links are there. – JVH

Article contributed by the Parking PT team.
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