Shoup Responds in a more “Succinct” manner


Shoup Responds in a more “Succinct” manner


Dan Mitchell Didn’t ask the question — the true questioner is unknown at this time

I jabbed Don a bit on his 23 minute answer to a question at the LA edition of PIE last week.  He honored me with a more "succinct" response to the questioner, Dan Mitchell, from the city of Los Angeles:


I enjoyed meeting you at the Parking Industry Exhibition, and apologize for not being more succinct in answering your question.

As I recall, I thought you asked whether what worked in Old Pasadena, which has lots of off-street parking, could work in  Los Angeles where there isn’t enough off-street parking.

Here is what I probably should have said:

First, when you don’t have enough off-street parking, it’s even more important to charge the right price of curb parking.  If drivers depend on curb parking, you need manage the curb parking so a few spaces are always available for people who want to park.  You need to manage the curb parking so drivers don’t constantly cruise for a vacant space and loudly complain about a shortage of parking.

Second, without knowing how much off-street parking spaces cost and how much drivers are willing to pay for them, no one knows how much off-street parking is enough.  Most of the guidelines on how much parking is “needed” are dangerous and misleading mumbo-jumbo.  The demand for parking depends on its price, and is not an absolute number.

Third, Los Angeles has more off-street parking spaces per square mile than any other city on earth, so it’s hard to say Los Angeles doesn’t have enough off-street parking.

Fourth, Old Pasadena and Westwood Village both have about the same number of off-street parking spaces.  In 1992, Pasadena installed parking meters and began charging $1 an hour for curb parking until midnight and on Sundays; Pasadena also dedicated the meter money to pay for added public services in Old Pasadena.  In the same year, Los Angeles reduced the meter rate in Westwood from $1 an hour to 50¢ an hour, and kept curb parking free in the evenings and on weekends; Los Angeles does not use the meter money to pay for added public services in the Village.  Old Pasadena boomed and Westwood Village decayed.  Which city has the right policy?

So that’s the short answer, at least if I did understand the question.

Donald Shoup

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John Van Horn

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