A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Can we do this here?

One of the Peninsula Transit Study's recommendations was for the city to adjust parking rates according to the time of day. San Francisco is about to try doing this on a broad scale, and the city's put together a good overview of how it would work:

SFpark Overview from SFpark on Vimeo.

Aside from making it easier for drivers to find a space on every block, and decreasing congestion, the bigger benefit from this program should be a more efficient allocation of scarce urban space. Drivers will spend less time searching for parking, and more time at the meter, generating more revenue for the city. And businesses will enjoy increased patronage from more customers.

In the longer term, data on parking rates and utilization in different neighborhoods will give planners and developers a better idea of how much new parking should be added with new development, instead of relying on arbitrary zoning codes that were developed in the 1960s. That would lead to lower costs of renting housing and office space in the city.

Of course, in order to implement such a program, Portland would need a business-savvy, innovative manager for its acres of public parking real estate. Personally, I'm not holding my breath.

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