Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE BIG FIX

How to get from here to there. A bus with a view? A monorail? Your own two feet?

Free up some spots along the curb

December 27, 2007|Donald Shoup | Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA, is the author of "The High Cost of Free Parking."

A surprising amount of traffic isn't caused by drivers on their way somewhere. Rather, it is caused by drivers who are searching for a parking spot. Cruising for curb parking in Westwood Village, for example, creates about 950,000 excess vehicle miles annually -- equal to 38 trips around the Earth.

Some cities have reduced cruising in business districts by setting the parking meter rates to achieve about 85% occupancy, so one or two vacant spaces are almost always available on each block. Getting those rates right can eliminate much needless driving.

There is plenty of room for price adjustments; the rates for 81% of the parking meters in Los Angeles have not changed since 1990. Most drivers would probably accept gradual upward adjustments -- especially if they can find a parking space without cruising. But first the City Council must sign on to the 85% occupancy target for curb parking.

The goal is not to get the meter rates exactly right, but Los Angeles could get them far less wrong.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|