Dr. Donald Shoup wrote a book called The High Cost of Free Parking in which he argued that too many American cities just give away their most valuable real estate in the form of spaces. The usual cry from business owners in response is: “But we’ll drive away customers if we charge for parking.”
But just the opposite happens. And clogged traffic is often alleviated, too.
Below is a picture of a Springfield city parking lot at N. Robberson Ave. and Pacific St. just a block south of Commercial Street.
My central contention in this series is that Springfield’s urban core should be more densely populated and that density will naturally lead to improvements — especially transportation improvements — that will benefit the entire city.
I took this picture on Thursday at about 1:00 p.m. Only about a third of the spaces in this lot were filled. There’s free, on-street parking on Commercial St. All those spaces were filled. Suggestion: Sell this parking lot to a developer who will build medium-to center city” zoning areas. Use most of the money for streetscape and complete streets projects in the same zone.. Put parking meters on the streets in the “
It’s All Downtown brags about 6,000 downtown parking spaces — some of them free, some of them free at particular times, and some of them paid. On-streets parking is free. Given the number of parking lots and garages, it seems time for the city to install parking meters on the streets.
Amenities precede people. Free, on-street parking does not draw people downtown to live (and, thus, spend money and pay taxes). The stuff that parking meters can pay for draw people downtown to live and to visit, i.e. spend money and pay taxes.
If you haven’t done so already, click Dr. Shoup’s name at the beginning of this post.
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