A downtown store owner who says his business is being ruined by the meters was interviewed by the duo, who specifically targeted Fulton because he is a devotee of Donald Shoup, the "prophet of parking." Shoup advocates that automobile use should be discouraged through "smart growth" urban planning policies--for example, penalizing drivers with parking fees.
It seems Fulton may not be alone in Ventura. In 2007, City Manager Rick Cole wrote a blog that said Shoup gave a presentation to city officials. The next day, the City Council approved parking meters downtown.
Cole described the benefits of Shoup's parking fee idea, but nowhere in his post does it describe the (what should have been obvious) impact on local businesses. Here is the full post:
It's been tried before. Has the time come again for parking meters in Downtown Ventura?That's the plan adopted by the City Council when it approved the Downtown Specific Plan earlier this year. Last night, UCLA Professor Don Shoup presented his findings on the advantages of paid parking at Ventura City Hall.Shoup, the author of "The High Cost of Free Parking," has earned renown as "a parking rock star," according to the Wall Street Journal. "Cars are parked 95% of the time, but 95% of the academic research studies when they are moving," he told the Ventura audience last night. As a result of his research into this neglected realm of transportation policy, Shoup says charging for street parking will:
- Reduce wasted vehicle travel, cutting congestion, air pollution, gas consumption and greenhouse gase emissions
- Improve public services by providing new funding for added police protection, streetscape amenities and routine cleaning and maintenance of our Downtown
Shoup advocates pricing at a price high enough to ensure that there is always at least one space open on each side of a block. That eliminates the circling of the block that research shows averages about three minutes per car over the course of the day (eight minutes during peak parking usage.) While that may seem like a small improvement, Shoup's study of Westwood showed that 45% of the cars during peak hour traffic had already arrived and were looking for a convenient place to park. Over the course of a year, that consumed a million miles of excess vehicle travel, which is the distance of four trips to the moon.
Shoup detailed case studies in Redwood City and Pasadena where paid parking strategies have been successfully implemented. Pasadena, for example, now generates more than a million dollars of paid parking revenue per year to fund added public services in their downtown.
Shoup concluded that cities face a choice. Which would you rather have -- a million miles a year of wasted travel or a million dollars a year to improve Downtown?