Should On Street Parkers Pay by the Foot? The Donald Thinks So!


Should On Street Parkers Pay by the Foot? The Donald Thinks So!

Don Shoup is at it again. We ran an article in Parking Technology Today in October which was scheduled for his “Access” magazine.  We titled it “Can Policy make Parking Meters More Attractive. Today, Astrid has blasted it all over the internet at since Access is not on the street. I have to comment.

He leads with using pay by license plate and by doing so, enables cities to charge different cars different prices.  First of all, a local resident might pay less for a space than say a visitor from out of town.

Some might say that that is discriminatory and The Donald says, yep. Local residents are already taxed to pay for streets and sidewalks and should be given a break. However, if I were a local merchant I might want to think twice about penalizing out of town customers. Hmmm.

He then goes with charging different amounts for different types of cars. There is a great table on his magazine’s site (and on ) that compares a Rolls Royce Phantom with a Smart car — one being 20 feet long, the other a mere 8. Don doesn’t stop there, he also compares mileage with the Roller coming in at 14 MPG and the Smart Car at 36. His idea is that if you are going to spoil the environment with a Rolls Royce you should pay more to park it.

My well known feelings on that subject are for another time. I do, however, agree that paying for parking by the foot is a good idea.  Why shouldn’t a guy who parks his 20 foot long monster pay twice as much as the guy who could park two of his minnows in the same space, with room left over? That makes sense to me. In NYC garages charge limos twice as much to park as a standard car, for the same reasons.

Shoup has other ideas, read the article. But in the end, it seems to me that anything that gives a parker a break is a good idea. Make it easy, make it responsive, make the parking experience cool.  By the way, Eric tells me we have sessions at the Parking Industry Exhibition at the end of March that tell you how to do just that.



Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Charging for parking based on the type (or size) of vehicle might sound reasonable at first, but if you think about it a little the idea of using that as the methodology for calculating payment won’t necessarily produce the results that are being touted (eg; if you are going to spoil the environment with a Rolls Royce you should pay more to park it.). Using vehicle size/type and mpg as the basis for determining the overall impact, whether we’re talking about the environment or the amount of linear curb space being occupied is an easy way to do it but its based on flawed data.

    The real measurement, if you want to come to a definitive answer on an “impact” differential between a Rolls and a Smart Car would be to insert one more piece of data, that being the passenger count. A smart car measuring 8 ft, getting 36 mpg and carrying 2 people works out to 4 linear feet per person and 72 passenger miles per gallon. A Rolls measuring 20 feet, getting 14 mpg and carrying 5 passengers has an impact of 4 linear feet per person and 70 passenger miles per gallon.

    Of course, if both vehicles are single passenger then there is no doubt the larger car has the bigger impact.

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