Parking solutions: reduce demand

Maybe part of the answer to concerns about parking is reducing supply by incentivizing the purchase and use of tiny cars.

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Free parking for tiny cars?

3 Responses to Parking solutions: reduce demand

  1. Rebecca says:

    What about “induced demand”? Basically, it’s the reason that building on extra highway lanes doesn’t result in less traffic, rather, paradoxically, in more traffic. If the situation of driving or parking becomes less of a nuisance, thereby making the commodity (driving or parking) more attractive than it previously was. Conclusion: if parking is not temporarily less annoying because there is more space for cars, because cars are smaller, then more people will drive because parking is now more attractive. Part of the reason that some people give up their car or take a different means of transportation is because parking or driving is so annoying. If we want more people to give up driving in lieu of bicycles, public transit, or sidewalks, then we have to make those things more attractive or rewarding (time and cost ratio) while making driving and parking even more attractive.

    In fact, I’ve heard many talk of the way that alternative energy sources can drive up demand for gasoline, instead of helping to meet demand. If we want people to consume less gas for their cars or to drive less, we have to increase the cost of gasoline, not make cars more efficient (thereby lowering the cost of gas for them per mile). In “Green Metropolis” by David Owen, he talks about this principle and even discusses how those who buy energy-efficient homes or cars tend to consume more energy than before because they feel so good about themselves for buying an energy efficient widgit, that their consumption doesn’t diminish. With price increases (through inefficient vehicles, homes or supply problems), demand for energy will sky-rocket if we don’t change our habits of usage or living situation, but after some time (hopefully a short-time), people learn how to live lives of less consumption since they can’t afford to be wasteful.

    For example, if the cost of water goes up a lot, people won’t be able to afford much of it, probably. The first thing that will go is grass watering, for most people who are hard pressed for money. Maybe the next time they look at real estate, they will choose a house with a smaller yard, or maybe an apartment or condo with only a balcony, where they can water flowers instead. Maybe people will be creative with their yards and not just plant St. Augustine grass (that plush, popular grass, which is the thirstiest of all grasses). Wouldn’t it be better for the environment if people changed they habits?

  2. Rebecca says:

    Sorry for typos. I mean’t to say:
    What about “induced demand”? Smaller cars may increase demand, which is bad for the goal of reduced car dependence and energy independence.

    Induced Demand is the reason that building on extra highway lanes doesn’t result in less traffic, rather, paradoxically, it results in more traffic.

    If the situation of driving or parking becomes less of a nuisance, the commodity (driving or parking) becomes more attractive than it previously was. Result: people drive more cars, and any cars, even little cars, are not good for the environment and helpful in making our towns and cities more accessible for everyone.

    if parking is less annoying because there is more space for cars, because cars are smaller, then more people will drive because parking is now more attractive.

    Part of the reason that some people give up their car or take a different means of transportation is because parking or driving is so annoying. If we want more people to give up driving in lieu of bicycles, public transit, or sidewalks, then we have to make those things more attractive or rewarding (time and cost ratio) while making driving and parking less, not more, attractive.

  3. . says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    I don’t disagree with you. I was being a little snarky with my “small car” pictures. Your points are all dead on in terms of the way we get at changing behavior. But we have to agree and admit that first, we do want to change behavior and second, that this is the behavior we want to change.

    Unfortunately we spend a lot more time arguing about “right” and “freedom” when it comes to parking that “costs” and “price.” Like everything parking costs something to provide and we confuse our “right” to park with cheap parking.

    If parking was priced based on supply and demand rather than government putting its finger on the scale, it would be more expensive. That would mean demand would drop and people would seek other options.

    But we don’t do that typically. It is getting better, but we have a ways to go.

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