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The High Cost of Free Parking

By Donald Shoup

Cities are getting parking wrong, and paying for their mistakes with sprawl, pollution, and higher prices for everything from hamburgers to housing. Donald Shoup shows how better parking policies could change the way our cities look and function.

Published by APA Planners Press, 2005

Format: Hardcover, 733 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-884829-98-7

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Off-street parking requirements are devastating American cities. So says Donald Shoup in this no-holds-barred treatise on the way parking should be.

Free parking, Shoup argues, 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.

Meet the Author

Donald Shoup, FAICPDonald Shoup, FAICP, 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. From 1996 to 2001, Shoup directed the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA and, from 1999 to 2003, he chaired the university's Department of Urban Planning.

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