The word is out. A front-page story in today's New York Times reveals, among other things, that there's now a Facebook group called The Shoupistas—named in honor of Donald Shoup, the witty UCLA planning professor whose 2005 book has stirred up the quiet world municipal parking policy. The Shoupistas, The Times says, now number more than a thousand.
More important, the approach to parking pricing that Shoup advocated in The High Cost of Free Parking is beginning to affect the availability of parking in American cities—most notably San Francisco.
Times reporters looked at the results of that city's SFpark program, which periodically adjusts meter and garage pricing to try to make at least one parking space available on every block. Under the program, the most expensive spots have risen to $4.50 an hour and could eventually reach $6. Preliminary data "suggests that the change may be having a positive effect in some areas," the paper says.
"While only a third of the blocks in the program have hit their targeted occupancy rates in any given month since the program began, the analysis found, three-quarters of the blocks either hit their targets or moved closer to the goal," according to The Times.
New parking meters make it easier to pay with credit cards. People can add money to the meter via mobile phones, with the result that fewer parking tickets are being issued. And officials point out that parking prices go down as well as up, depending on the volume of demand on a particular block.
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