Went to a portion of the UCLA Symposium on traffic and congestion in metropolitan areas yesterday. The folks I saw were typical of academic approaches – Plan Plan Plan and then tear down what you planned to build and replace it with a better plan. Nothing new here.
However Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation (founder) talked about HOT lanes – He made an assumption – everyone in the room knew what a HOT lane was. He was wrong. I didn’t, however sussed it out halfway through his presentation. The letters mean “High Occupancy Toll.” The idea is to have toll roads that allow only car pools (two or three or more occupants). He says the concept really works well. The roads have a funding source (the tolls) and people actually use them because they work. There are a couple of rules (two lanes in each direction, good ingress and egress) but they work. He used the 91 toll road as an example. The road is build in the center of a general purpose freeway and “allows” single occupancy vehicles, at a higher rate. They get more usage and create less angry motorists than HOV lanes.
Don Shoup gave an updated “High Cost of Free Parking” presentation. If you haven’t heard it, you haven’t been reading this blog but to review – There are three rules that will save the pollution filled congested central cities of the world – 1. Charge market based pricing for on street parking that leaves one space per block space open. 2. Return the money collected from the parking to the neighborhoods from whence it came. 3. Do away with planning commission based parking requirements for businesses and apartments.
It appears to be working in cities large and small – Redwood City, San Francisco, Washington DC, Ventura, and to a lesser extent Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, and the list goes on.