Off-street parking requirements [imposed by a city for new developments] and cars…present a symbiotic relationship: the requirements lead to free parking, the free parking leads to more cars and more cars then lead to even higher parking requirements. When 3 spaces per 1,000 square feet [of new building] no longer satisfy the peak demand for free parking, a stronger dose of 4 spaces per 1,000 square feet can alleviate the problem, but not for long because cars increase in numbers to fill the new parking spaces. Every jab of the parking needle relieves the local symptoms, but ultimately worsens the real disease — too much land and capital devoted to parking and cars. Parking requirements are good for motorists in the short run but bad for cities in the long run.

- Donald Shoup, The High Cost of Free Parking

2 Responses to Thursday Quote: The Parking Disease

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been attending the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee meetings for several months. Project managers present to the board the construction projects that they have, and the BPAC works to incorporate bike lanes and pedestrian friendly streets. The FDOT whose mandate is to move traffic of all kinds on their roadway has given in to on-street parking on Alton Rd for example. Where the beach refuses to remove on-street parking, even if bike lanes could be added. FDOT does not put pressure on Miami Beach to remove the parking, even if there are many parking lots and garages. FDOT has not been able to answer why on-street parking supersedes transportation. This has come up several times at meetings with other FDOT roadways.


  2. JHop says:

    Car-based assumptions pervade the laws and customs of our urban planning. An illustration: Miami-Dade County has an ordinance requiring bicycle parking at commercial buildings. The ruler by which the number of bike spaces is determined: not the building size, not its design occupancy, but the number of car-parking spaces.


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