I know you may be on Shoup overload after our last issue with the Shoup Dogg on the cover and articles from his students and me lauding the professor. Fair Enough.
I did attend a reception this past week at UCLA for Don Shoup and he was lauded by his students and his peers. They really seem to like him over there. The event was appropriately held on the roof of a parking structure near the campus. They charged us to park. I thought that was cheeky, but what can you say. I was told that they had to pay for the spaces they used on the roof for the event.
There were posters discussing Shoup’s theories, an excellent spread of hors oeuvres, open wine bar, and TV screens lauding his accomplishments during his four decades toiling at the university. There were quite a few non-Bruins there – Liliana Rambo and Cindy Campbell (in PIX below with moi) from the IPI were present, as were media from the LA Times and parknews.biz. I ran into Peer Ghent from the City of LA, and Mario Inga and his wife from the City of Beverly Hills. It was the place to be if you were in Parking.
When we walked in, he was alone, looking at an octopus like bicycle built for eight. Strange creature. He noted that he was glad to see us (I introduced my wife, who had never met him.) He noticed my hearing aids and commented that he had gotten them a few years before. He’s the one in the tan Jacket on the Octobike facing away from camera.
“I noticed I couldn’t hear the students in the back rows. I would have to walk back there to get their comments or questions. Actually it wasn’t a bad idea, then I could see what they were really doing on those laptops.” That was typical Shoup – a great sense of humor.
He told us that he wasn’t really retiring, he just wasn’t working for someone any more. He was going to be writing another book and keeping his fingers in the parking and planning pies.
I asked him how it was that whenever there was a story on parking, he figured prominently in the copy. He said he wasn’t sure, but once when he was on Good Morning America they sent a limo to pick him up at 4 AM and take him to the studio. He was interviewed for nearly half an hour. The reporter told him that there was far too much “good stuff” to use in the one segment, and that he may show up on GMA again and again. He laughed as he said that the segment used that day was about 30 seconds.
However he is quick with a parable whether its talking about how parking minimums are set by counting the number of nuns in a convent (so many spaces per nun) or the number of gallons of water in a swimming pool (so many spaces per gallon). He notes that the relationship between who actually drives at a convent or a swimming pool is irrelevant.
Newscasters love to see a senior professor who actually looks like a senior professor expound on a topic that affects everyone. “If you have to pay for a car, insure a car, put gas and oil in it, provide maintenance, why should someone else pay for you to park it?” There is no ‘free parking’, he notes, only parking paid for by someone else, the merchant, the city, the apartment building owner, or the shopping center. The cost for the parking is plowed back into everything you buy, your rent, the cost of a movie ticket, your taxes. Talk about not being fair.
Don Shoup caused a firestorm in the industry when he published his book, “The High Cost of Free Parking.” He not only reached out to parking folks, he reached out to mayors, city managers, city planners and the like. They began to ask hard questions of their parking managers and consultants. No wonder he is off so many Christmas Card lists.
He spoke for about 15 minutes and had the crowd in stitches. Wife Robyn commented that she doesn’t know if he knows anything about parking, but she can see why I Iike the guy.