Parking in the City – One Man’s Opinion


Parking in the City – One Man’s Opinion

Frank Gruber writes on “city” issues for an the Santa Monica Lookout News, an e newsmagazine in Southern California. He was picked up in the Huffington Post. Read his piece here.

Basically this is a city dwellers take on parking and “what should be done.” The meat of the article is here: (I guess “Cityism” is his take on the social, political, and design aspects of cities, or something)

This is why Cityism factor #3 is so important to define Cityism; it also, however, limits (as definitions and differentiations often to) the scope of Cityism. Cityism is not going to occur in cities with economies that are not vibrant enough to generate the money to put parking underground or (another workable approach) in shared parking structures with street-friendly ground-floor uses. This money can come from private sources (the developers and residents of buildings with underground parking) or public sources (governments that build, and inevitably subsidize, shared parking structures), but the money has to exist.

Can anyone guess what my problem is with this graph? If you read this blog you know already. The Cost of building or providing parking should come from one place only, that is the people who own and park the cars.

Many believe that parking just happens, whether it’s built by the developer of a condo or shopping center, or provided by the city. But in fact it is paid for by the rent from those who live or work in the area above the center, or the taxes of the people in the community. In both cases this is bad, bad, bad.

It should be paid for by the parkers. If you want or need underground parking and it costs $240 a space per month to provide it, then the drivers who want to park in the area should pay that amount. If you read Frank’s entire article he feels like this is a lot of money. However it’s only $8 a day, an amount fairly consistent with most parking areas in major metropolitan areas. As for a monthly rate, that may be a bit high, but well, if you are going to drive a car, you need a place to park it. It’s not my job, or Frank’s, or the City of Santa Monica’s to provide subsidized parking for car owners.

We must get this idea out of our heads that it is up to the government to “provide” anything, whether its rapid transit, parking, or whatnot. The users of these services need to pay for them. The government can, at a great price, coordinate, but when I buy a ticket on the Bus or park on street, I should be charged whatever cost it is to provide the transportation or the space. Period.


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Hi, this is Frank Gruber, and I just caught up with your comments here to my piece on Cityism. I think if you read all my posts on Cityism and what I write about parking in my weekly column for you’ll find that I agree with you. My point in the Cityism articles is that from an economic point of view you have to generate enough money to put the parking underground — I wasn’t saying where it should come from, only that it was a huge cost that the economy had to shoulder. I agree the parkers should pay for it, but in a lot of economies there are a lot of people who can’t afford to do so. That could mean that cities can’t be rebuilt along the Cityist lines I suggest unless the decisions are made to use other funds to hide the parking.

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