San Francisco and Parking Limits


San Francisco and Parking Limits

Here we go again — One of the members of the City Council in San Francisco is touting a "limit" on the number of parking spaces that a person can build on their private property.  Read about it here. First they demand that you put a certain number of spaces for a certain type of use, then they demand you limit the number of spaces.  Can you believe it?

These people are out of control.  Lets look for a moment at the logic — There aren’t enough parking spaces in SF. They need more condos and apartments. They are going to limit the number of spaces in the condos. This will mean that 1} people buying the condos or renting the apartments will have to look on the street to find additional parking, which is in limited supply or 2) they will take the bus and sell their cars.

We have known for a century that you can’t change how people act with legislation. However, the free market can do that quickly and easily. 

1. Let the builder put as many parking spaces as they feel appropriate.  They can charge for the spaces under the condos and apartments. If people want to walk, they can pay less to live in the city, if they want to drive, they can pay more.

2.  Charge market rates for on street parking. This will generate revenue for the city and entice people to find alternatives off street (probably make the construction of parking off street, or out of the area (say adjacent to a BART station down the peninsula) a reasonable thing to do. People will park off street because its more affordable, or not own that second car.)

3. Be sure you send the money generated by parking right back into the neighborhoods from wince it comes. That way the higher parking fees become politically acceptable, and people see direct results of the higher charges.

OH — does this sound familiar — why yes, I do think they are the three tenants of Shoupista theory.

At least the mayor is opposed to the parking limits. — My guess is that he has more supporters in the developer business than the councilman.

Government involvement screws it up, the free market makes it work. Period.


UPDATE — They did it — they passed the ordinance but the mayor could veto…

Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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