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Stephanie Pollack: Smarter Parking, Better Communities

May 12, 2015

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Presentation given by Stephanie Pollack, Associate Director of Research, Kitty & Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council's parking conference, sPARKing New Ideas, Boston, MA, 4/8/14.

  • 1.Dukakis Center For Urban and Regional Policy Northeastern University School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter A Think and Do Tank Smarter Parking, Better Communities Sparking New Ideas Conference 8 April 2014

2. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter How can we convince cities and towns to adopt smarter parking policies? Most people dont think much about parking most of the time And if they do they tend to think favorably of it Those with cars like to have convenient, free places to park So how can we go back to our cities and towns and convince our neighbors to rethink parking policy? 3. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Talking about parking: The economics case for policy change Minimum-parking requirements are a second wrong that doesnt make a right. The original wrong is that weve never charged automobiles properly for using city streets, either for driving or parking. If you give a valuable resource away for free, the inevitable result is overuse and crowding. . . . In modern Massachusetts, on-street parking is available at low or no cost, and therefore drivers cant find a parking spot. Low parking costs also ensure there are more drivers congesting the roads. Edward L. Glaeser Source: Boston Globe, July 13, 2013 4. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Talking about parking: The economic case for policy change 5. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Talking about parking: The fairness case for policy change 4,733,936 71% 1,230,590 19% 681,618 10% Drivers Underage population Age-eligible non-drivers Drivers per 1,000 driving age population 897 921 914 908 907 903 913 904 891 868 866 875 874 820 840 860 880 900 920 940 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Massachusetts Parking serves the needs of the subset of the population that owns and drives cars. What about everyone else? 6. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Not everyone owns a car 7. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Why do we require parking for cars people dont own? 8. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Why do we require parking for cars people dont own? Source: MAPC 9. The physics of parking 10. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Talking about parking: The language of physics No two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. 11. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter The choice: Parking or office space? Source: graphingparking.com 12. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter The choice: Parking or high school study space? Source: graphingparking.com 13. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter The choice: Parking or more homes? Source: graphingparking.com 14. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter The fundamental problem: Parking uses up too much space The United States has somewhere between 10 million and 2 billion parking spaces In his 2012 book Eran Ben-Joseph notes that if the correct figure is 500 million parking spaces, they occupy 3,590 square miles, an area larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined If the correct number is 2 billion, the area grows to the size of Connecticut and Vermont combined Ben-Joseph writes that in some U.S. cities, parking lots cover more than a third of the land area Sources: Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, 6 Jan. 2012 Eran Ben-Joseph, Re-Thinking A Lot (2012) 15. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Non-parking reasons communities might adopt smarter parking Desirable Outcomes for the Community Quality of Life Revenue Economic Activity More Space for the Community to Use For Complete Streets Public Space Development Reduced Land Devoted to Parking On-Street Parking Off-Street Parking 16. Better communities through smarter parking 17. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Smarter parking policies can create better communities by Increasing economic activity and tax revenue Making room for more public space Enabling Complete Streets Revitalizing neighborhood shopping districts Making housing more affordable 18. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Parking, economic activity and tax revenue Source: Studies by Christopher MaCahill (now at State Smart Transportation Institute) and Norman Garrick (University of Connecticut) 19. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Parking, economic activity and tax revenue 20. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Parking, economic activity and tax revenue Cities forego tax money with every parking spot they require In Hartford, for example, the city forfeits $1,200 per year per parking space, which amounts to a subsidy of more than $50 million per year for all the parking in downtown Hartford (where total municipal tax revenue totals only $75 million) In contrast, the subsidy for parking in downtown Cambridge, Mass., amounts to just over $1 million per year on municipal revenues of $50 million 21. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Parking into public space: Mission Hill parklet A parklet is a small, semi-permanent public space created from on-street parking spaces The parklet in Mission Hill, the first of four planned for the City of Boston, debuted in September 2013 The parklet took the place of two parking spaces adjacent to parklet partners Mikes Donuts and Lillys Gourmet Pasta Express 22. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Parking into public space: Our Happy Block 4,300 square feet of a parking lot at Southeast Portlands Calvary Lutheran Church was depaved by a Portland, Oregon non-profit Neighbors had become concerned that the excessively large surface parking lot was being used by drug dealers and would-be hot-rodders to test their driving skills. The asphalt was replaced by four rain gardens and nearly 1,300 native plants The project also helped divert 379,000 gallons of rainwater from storm drains annually 23. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Parking into public space: Philadelphias The Porch The Porch at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia opened in November 2011, replacing 34 parking spaces and a bland, barren sidewalk The Porch includes abundant seating, seasonal plantings, programming such as performances and fitness classes and special events such as The Porch Beer Garden and mini-golf The project was designed and implemented using The Project for Public Spaces LQC approach Lighter Quicker Cheaper which involves building pubic spaces by taking small, iterative, and experimental steps to determine what works best, rather than starting with large capital expenses An extensive post-occupancy study confirmed that The Porch has created a well-used public space and catalyzed new economic activity 24. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter The Porch: The results 25. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Parking into public space: The economic benefits 26. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Complete Streets and parking: Polk Street in San Francisco 27. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Complete Streets and Parking: Creating protected bike lanes 28. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Complete Streets and parking: The economic case 29. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Neighborhood business districts: Parking/Business Improvement Districts In the 1980s Old Pasadena was a disinvested area filled with pawn shops and vacant buildings Before 1993, Old Pasadena had no parking meters and because parking was free store employees used the on-street parking and customers had difficulty finding places to park Today 1,200 parking meters generate $1.5 million in revenue The city reinvests a portion of the parking meter revenue into infrastructure improvements The rest goes to pay the citys share of the cost of a business improvement district which uses its funds to care for and market the area Today the area has 150 retailers and an average of 30,000 people visit Old Pasadena each weekend And in an area with 600 residential units, another 2,000 are under construction 30. Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter Housing affordability and parking Requiring large amounts of parking in housing developments makes the housing more expensive, irrespective of resident demand, because the cost of parking is built into the cost of each unit Parking requirements for new developments may also reduce the total number of units built, because if the requirements make some projects unprofitable some residential developments that might have been built are never built When parking requirements are removed, developers provide more housing and less parking, and also that developers provide different types of housing: housing in older buildings, in previously disinvested areas, and housing marketed toward non-drivers. This latter category of housing tends to sell for less than housing with parking spaces. Research pape