We Need to Talk About Parking

Banned in BostonA critical piece of the walkability/livability discussion is the problem of parking. Some minor flare-ups around the proposal to replace (temporarily) even one car parking space with a corral that could accommodate at least ten bikes highlights the passion and sensitivity some feel around the issue. For those who don’t have time to pore over an 800-page bestselling book on the topic (“The High Cost of Free Parking”), we’ll try to lay out piece by piece over the next few weeks why parking–and especially free parking–can be toxic to the health of a community and especially a neighborhood shopping district.

In the meantime, though, last week’s Planet Money episode “Free Parking” provides an entertaining and engaging introduction to the topic, through the prism of a parking exchange startup that originated in Baltimore and was subsequently banned in Boston. Although the story is interesting from a number of perspectives, we urge everyone to listen closely to the interview with Donald Shoup, author of the aforementioned bestseller.

Stay tuned for more.

3 thoughts to “We Need to Talk About Parking”

    1. We have heard some grumblings. Unconfirmed rumor is that the community meeting was requested by the councilor’s office when some people complained about losing parking in the square.

      Of course, driving around the square is a much bigger problem than parking. More free parking –> more cars –> more congestion.

      1. Hi
        The meeting was part of the usual community process for any changes that affect the community and was not specifically requested by the Councilors Office. The Councilor’s Office did attend the meeting and thought the conversation was a good one with lots of good ideas.

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