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on-street parking is the most efficient type of

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  • Todd Alexander Litman
    On the other hand, on-street parking is the most efficient type of parking that can be provided. Most off-street spaces only serve a single destination and so
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 24 8:10 AM

      On the other hand, on-street parking is the most efficient type of parking that can be provided. Most off-street spaces only serve a single destination and so have low load factors, while on-street spaces serve many destinations and have high load factors, and so are more efficient overall. Also, off-street spaces require driveways which use a portion of the curb and cross sidewalks. For these reasons many urban planners now support the provision of a maximum number of on-street spaces and a minimum number of off-street spaces (for discussion of ways to use parking facilities more efficiently see my new report "Parking Management" (http://www.vtpi.org/park_man.pdf ) and book "Parking Management Best Practices" ( http://www.planning.org/bookservice/description.htm?BCODE==APMB ).

      If the choice is really between sidewalks and on-street parking I would generally choose providing a sidewalk, but it is desirable to provide on-street parking where possible.

      Best wishes,
      -Todd Litman

      At 07:01 AM 4/24/2006, Lee Schipper wrote:
      Years ago a good Swedish Transport economist posed the same question. by measuring how much time people spent walking to where
      there was green space, he figured out that providing on-street parking rather than more green space and broader sidewalks led to a real
      economic loss. His advice was to provide parking only in private, commercial areas (he also looked at how much off-street parking cost).

      One benefit of such an approach * say every other street in NYCity had no parking...just bays for deliveries here and there * front yards would reappaear
      and children and families could play in the streets more safely!

      >>> whook@... 4/24/2006 9:44:09 AM >>>


      Paul white and i had a related idea over lunch the other day, and we were
      wondering if this has ever been tried. 


      What if all the property owners and permanent tenants living along a block
      of urban street were given the choice by the municipality of whether they
      wanted the space in front of their house dedicated to car parking or
      sidewalk?  How many residents would vote for car parking?   It might be done
      something like this.  The department of transport could determine the needed
      road capacity, but the parking units would be a function of ultra local
      democracy.  What if as a result, each permanent resident or registered
      voter, or even just each property tax payer, on a city block got to
      determine the democratic use of the public space in front of their property.
      Since it is currently most of the time dedicated to parking, at least in the
      US, even if only 10% voted to get rid of the parking, that would be 10% of
      the parking units we could reclaim.  On my block i would guess that maybe
      50% would opt for a wider sidewalk. Then a block association could be free
      to contract an architect to redesign the street with that same number of
      units of parking. 


      I am wondering if there are any successful examples of this sort of ultra
      local democracy?




      -----Original Message-----
      From: sustran-discuss-bounces+whook==itdp.org@...
      [ mailto:sustran-discuss-bounces+whook==itdp.org@...] On Behalf
      Of Eric Britton
      Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2006 12:34 PM
      To: NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com; Sustran Resource Centre
      Cc: CarFreeCafe@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [sustran] New Mobility Citizen Poll for Your City- A Proposal


      New Mobility Citizen Poll for Your City- A Proposal for Discussion


      When it comes to creating more viable and fairer transport systems, and
      behind that our real objective: more agreeable and more sustainable cities,
      we have one recurrent problem that we can perhaps deal with if we put our
      heads together.


      As is well known, whenever any given 'soft transport', "public space" or
      some type of "not quite so many cars" initiative is proposed in any given
      place, the first and most striking thing that happens is the howls of
      protest that immediately emerge from  all those who claim that their
      democratic entitlements are being threatened by, as they often like to put
      it, some small group of arrogant bike-happy  technocrats and their fellow
      eco-travelers. And since the media always likes a good cat fight, these
      righteous citizens often dominate the news. For the rest, for you and me and
      others like us, hey! we're the Silent Minority.  The absolutely


      Well, it does not always have to be like that and here is one proposal
      concerning which I would like to invite discussions and refinement - all as
      a prelude to giving this idea a couple of trial runs in one or more
      pioneering cities.


      The idea is to carry out an annual open citizen survey of attitudes and
      preferences concerning transport policy and practice (and the investments
      that go with it) in your city.  The results should be made widely available
      through old and new media, and brought to the fore of the attention of the
      politicians, administrators and policy makers in your city. Here without any
      pretense of it being anything other than a grain of sand to get us going is
      my draft proposal for content for quick mini-survey that can be administered
      by phone, email or on any street corner by volunteers:


      Note to the reader: In a first instance, before digging into the details, I
      would like to ask the members of this fine group: (a) is this an idea that
      is worth pursuing; (b) are there some (better)examples that we should be
      looking at and learning from. Then once we have a feel for this as a useful
      activity, we can then start to see how we might together fine tune a good
      questionnaire and routine.





      1, Draft Mini-survey (for comment and . . . ) 

      All questions where appropriate to be answered simply by a 1 (yes), 0 (don't
      know), -or -1 (no), which will facilitate aggregation and overview.


      1.      Name

      2.      City of residence

      3.      M/F

      4.      Age: <15; 15-30; 30-65; >65

      5.      Do you own/drive a car?

      6.      My city government has a coherent, announced transportation policy:

      7.      I believe that this is a wise and well executed policy.

      8.      We need to spend more money to build more roads and more parking as
      a main transport priority.

      9.      We need to give much more attention and spend more money on "soft
      transport" and related life quality initiatives (examples: better support of
      pedestrians and cyclists, traffic calming,  more public transport, new forms
      of shared transport, ITC substitutes for displacement.)

      10.  It is possible for people to live here well and easily without having
      their own car.

      11.  If they want my vote -- all candidates for local public office should
      take a firm stand on their transportation policies, and issue as part of
      their platform a signed personal statement indicating their support of more
      sustainable  transport  projects and programs.


      Your eventual brief comments or suggestions: ____________________________





      2. How to execute - Thoughts on


      *         This maybe is pushing it for length. If it can't be administered
      in three minutes, it probably will not do the job. Try it out on a couple of
      friends and let us know.

      *         There is plenty of evidence that people tend to create and
      administrate questionnaires that one way or another tend to elicit their
      favored response. We should meticulously  avoid doing this, and in our
      selection of questions - and people to be queried. If it ain't neutral, it
      is not worth a lot. So careful, eh?

      *         The simple mental model I have for this is an excel table with
      names in columns, etc. All leading to easy sorting and sub-total

      *         To have a real impact, it will best be administered at some fixed
      As examples: on Earth Day, in cooperation with any local Car Free Days,
      European Moblity Week, etc.)

      *         The procedures and information should be fully public so that
      there can be no charges of rigging the returns.  (Expect in Belarusia and
      Florida in which it is OK.)

      *         Also involve schools, various clubs and groups, senior citizens,
      handicapped, pedestrian and cyclist naturally but also take it into
      hospitals, prisons, old people's homes, jails, and the homeless.

      *         Local media partnerships, and even strong involvement by them,
      will be most useful.

      *         I would propose that the on-street interviews be carried out on
      one day - but that an entire week be given over to the entire procedures.

      *         The results should be publicly announced.

      *         And then all those in local government should be asked to comment
      and give their appreciations of what this means. (Note: Our friends in South
      Africa with their first Car Free Days last year did a good job of this which
      we might usefully consult)

      *         We propose that this be an annual exercise.

      *         And that to the extent possible and sensible, we might want to
      think about questions and formats that are sufficiently parallel to allow us
      to aggregate.

      *         BTW, is there or has there ever been anything like this in your
      city? Neighborhood? That we can learn from?



      3. Parallel in-death Survey


      It may be a good idea to have a more in depth survey for those people
      disposed to spend more time with us on this.


      The trick will be to determine who, how, when,  - and how used?


      Here are a few first thoughts on this to get us going:


      *         Employment, social status

      *         Where live/where work

      *         If it were faster and cheaper to get to work or school by some way
      other than driving a car (in traffic) would you be willing to consider it?

      *         When was the last time you took a bus or rail transit?

      *         Used a bike to get to work or school?

      *        D you think that it might be a good idea for your city to publish
      and maintain a "sustainable transportation webpage" that reports on key
      indicators including traffic deaths and incidents (by gravity and type), CO2
      or other clean air indicators, parametric indicators of infrastructure and
      performance of NMT options, etc.

      *        Would you be willing to work, say, 20 hours over a period of one or
      two months.  as a volunteer to support better researched specific projects
      in your neighborhood.

      *        Etc.

      *        Etc



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      Todd Alexander Litman
      Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org)
      Phone & Fax 250-360-1560
      1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, CANADA
      “Efficiency - Equity - Clarity”

    • Eric Britton
      I would like to weigh in on this one, with what may to some of you look like nothing more than a personal religious prejudice about matters of transport
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 24 8:24 AM

        I would like to weigh in on this one, with what may to some of you look like nothing more than a “personal religious prejudice” about matters of transport policy and practice that I have consistently courted for my entire career.  Which has consistently biased me against not only off-street parking but also putting money into underground rail.


        The nice thing about on street parking and all that visible traffic, congestion, etc. is that you cannot avoid seeing it. It is the nature of man that if we can avoid coming to grips with a problem, no matter how grave, because it is hidden, we will. So let’s keep our problems right in front of our noses – as a constant reminder that we better do something about them.


        BTW, I am a bit surprised that my proposal for annual open citizen mini-surveys of transport priorities in their cities has occasioned such a deafening silence. Hmm. And I thought it was/is a real great and useful idea. Hmm.



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