The High Cost of Free Parking

Front Cover
Planners Press, American Planning Association, 2011 - Architecture - 765 pages
3 Reviews

One of the American Planning Association's most popular and influential books is finally in paperback, with a new preface from the author on how thinking about parking has changed since this book was first published. In this no-holds-barred treatise, Donald Shoup argues that free parking has contributed to auto dependence, rapid urban sprawl, extravagant energy use, and a host of other problems. Planners mandate free parking to alleviate congestion but end up distorting transportation choices, debasing urban design, damaging the economy, and degrading the environment. Ubiquitous free parking helps explain why our cities sprawl on a scale fit more for cars than for people, and why American motor vehicles now consume one-eighth of the world's total oil production. But it doesn't have to be this way. Shoup proposes new ways for cities to regulate parking - namely, charge fair market prices for curb parking, use the resulting revenue to pay for services in the neighborhoods that generate it, and remove zoning requirements for off-street parking. Such measures, according to the Yale-trained economist and UCLA planning professor, will make parking easier and driving less necessary. Join the swelling ranks of Shoupistas by picking up this book today. You'll never look at a parking spot the same way again.

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This book is one of the few that has shaped the way I see the built environment. Shoup exposes the weak technical foundations of the current practice of setting parking requirements, and offers his solution on how we should tackle the problem of parking automobiles in the urban environment.
It is not an easy read.This rather resembles a scholarly article in book form. You probably need to be a big fan or planning or engineering in order to get through the 700+ pages. It may seem like he repeats himself quite often but it just goes to show how in depth he has studied this over looked factor of planning. Once you get through it however it is pretty difficult to argue against his presentation. You may come to be okay with not having free parking next time you go downtown!
 

Review: The High Cost of Free Parking

User Review  - Skylar - Goodreads

Donald Shoup convincingly makes the case that "free" parking distorts people's transportation choices towards making single-occupancy auto trips over the alternatives (walking, biking, busing, etc ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Donald Shoup is a professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds a doctorate in economics from Yale and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

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