I”ll believe it when I see it


I”ll believe it when I see it

San Francisco’s Transportation Department has completed a three year parking study and presented it to the City Council. It’s a major document which employs many of Don Shoup’s theories on parking and how it can affect the urban landscape. Read about it here.

Don sees this as a major step for a major city. If the council accepts the program and then allows it to proceed, then I concur. However, knowing politicians, I’m skeptical.

Like all politicians those in San Francisco see revenues first. One of the tenets of the program is that money raised will be plowed back into the neighborhoods from whence it came. And I Quote:

Invest a portion of net new revenues within the neighborhood and involve the community in prioritizing expenditures. This is the central element of PBDs (Parking Benefit District). By pairing the PBD concept with price-based regulation there is even greater opportunity for neighborhoods to reap the benefits of pricing—through improved parking reductions and a reduction in traffic volumes, as well as through funding available to invest in local transportation projects.

I’m most concerned about the word “portion.” I simply can’t see politicians giving up control of what could be a substantial amount of money the local residents or merchants and giving them the ability to “prioritize” the expenditure. My guess is that the “portion” will become smaller and smaller until it’s nonexistent. They are already mumbling about the “fairness” of the market based pricing to the poor – who are rich enough to own cars but not rich enough to pay to park them.

Call me a cynic, but that’s how these places work. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, as Baghdad by the Bay would be a tremendous laboratory for Shoupistas to study the results of their theories.

The council has put off consideration so the members can at least read the proposal. Well that’s something our representatives in Washington should consider.


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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