It’s about the Curb…


It’s about the Curb…

When I suggested to a group of municipal parking gurus that there was a program that could allow delivery companies to reserve curb time to make their deliveries and stop that incessant double parking that clogs our streets, I got one response: “How would you enforce it?” and then the subject changed.

My next line would have been “The same way you enforce all other parking. Officers receive information about certain spaces being reserved and write citations to those parked in those spaces that weren’t supposed to do so.” is filled with articles about the Curb and its value to cities, beyond parking. Deliveries is one, pick up and drop off for uber/lyft is another. What about controlling where food trucks park? Or special zones for UPS and Fedex. I’m not saying that these zones should be free. UPS would love to pay for reserved space so their drivers could easily and quickly make drop offs and pick ups.

Cities could learn from airports who have been restricting curb parking for decades and have reserved space for certain types of vehicles. If you want a hotel shuttle, go to the red sign, parking, green sign, uber lyft pool, the roof of the parking structure. Why can cities do the same.

I understand that in some major cities, the areas around apartment buildings are jammed with Amazon delivery vehicles, and at dinnertime,with Grubhub and pizza vans dropping off food for the residents. At lunch, office buildings are mobbed with deliveries for workers.

Is it too far outside the box to consider areas reserved by time? UPS deliveries in the morning, food deliveries at noon, UPS pick ups in the PM, and then in the evening, spaces would be freed up for private vehicles for persons living in the area or visiting restaurants and clubs.

There is a company in the UK called Grid Smarter Cities (See story posted July 16 on that has developed an app that tracks curb space and allows for reserved curb space for deliveries in certain areas at certain times of the day. Does it work? I don’t know but certainly it can work.

Revenue? Don Shoup has posited that if half the ‘free’ on street parking space in New York City were charged at $5.50 an hour, over 3 BILLION in annual revenue would be generated. Could one charge $130 a day for on street parking? I doubt it. However I’m certain delivery companies, food trucks, and Uber Drivers would pay a portion of that to have space to do their business curbside.

Curb space, particularly in commercial areas, may be more valuable than you think. Plus it may have more uses than parking private cars.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. JVH, I agree with the gurus, but maybe can offer some more context with a couple of examples:

    There is an autonomous shuttle that runs in downtown Las Vegas but it can’t operate effectively without staffing their stops with people. 4 stops, 4 people during peak operating hours. Despite very visible and threatening signage. Even then, their attendants have my enforcement officers on a group text app to call them when offenders won’t move.

    We are running a pilot for taxis, Uber and Lyft where we created a taxi line and an active loading/unloading zone just like the airport. It takes a taxi starter and 1-2 enforcement officers for a 1/2 block, 1 side of the street area to make it effective. If either is absent, the whole thing fails utterly.

    I suspect these examples might shed some light on why the subject changed so quickly…….

  2. I like your article, except for the statement that “Don Shoup has posited that if half the ‘free’ on street parking space in New York City were charged at $5.50 an hour, over 3 BILLION in annual revenue would be generated.” I said $5.50 a day, not $5.50 an hour, would yield $3 billion a year.

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