Here’s a chap in Montreal who spends his time cruising for parking. “Parking costs so much, and there are free spaces, so why should I pay when I can simply look for a free spot.” Yeah, you and a million others. Its Econ 101. If you give it away, no one is going to pay for it. (There are a lot of other examples for this truth beside parking, but this is a family blog.)
Shoup says that if you set the rates on street so that one space per block is empty, parking on street will automatically cost more than off street and people who don’t want to pay for the more costly but also more convenient on street spaces will immediately park off street and get out of traffic.
Our hero above was accompanied by a reporter who determined he cruised for 10 minutes before he found a space. Studies have shown that up to a third of the cars in a downtown area are looking for cheap, on street parking, and typically cruise for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove those cars and think how much better traffic would flow, and how much pollution wouldn’t be in the atmosphere.
Hat Tip: Mark