From the LA Times


From the LA Times

Got my quarterly call from the LA Times. An agenda driven reporter was looking for some pithy quotes backing her posit that Los Angeles was slowly falling into the sea because there simply wasn’t enough parking AND that instituting market  based pricing in some area would mean that the poor could no longer drive their cars.

Yep, that’s what she said.

By the time our conversation was over I think she thought she dialed the wrong number.

I calmly and coolly took her through the problems LA faces. Since I know the area personally, she had difficultly telling me there was no parking in certain areas. The fact is that there is no "convenient" or "free" parking in those area, but if you want to part with a few bucks, there’s plenty of parking. Whoops —

She did ask why everyone thought that parking should be free.  My answer was that since it had been subsidized from the beginning most folks thought that was how it is. Cities didn’t charge, or charged minimally, companies paid for their employee’s parking, shopping malls paved over acres and provide free to their customers parking. So when you want to charge now, or raise prices to fit the marketplace, people rebel.

I splained how if, however, they took the money from parking and plowed it back into the neighborhoods, rather into the Mayor’s limo or other important parts of the general fund, people would see that parking fees did a lot of good, and would begin to understand that paying a fee to use a piece of land wasn’t a bad thing, but a good thing.

The result would be less congestion (people looking for free spaces), better streetscapes, more money for merchants, better business, and well — just a better world in which to live.

I’m not sure she bought it, but she did say that my position does turn conventional parking theory on its head.

I’m not holding my breath waiting for the story in the Times.


PS, When I asked her how it was that poor people who could afford a car, gas, license, insurance, maintenance, and the like, couldn’t afford the cost to park the car and needed a subsidy. Strangely she didn’t have a response.

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John Van Horn

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