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Parking space management: Remove a spot, reduce global warming?


"Parking management is a critical and often overlooked tool for achieving a variety of social goals," according to a new study released Wednesday by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy in New York.

The study cited improved air quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced traffic congestion, improved road safety and revitalized city centers as the key benefits of parking reform.

Those benefits have been achieved in various European cities through a mixture of public policies, regulatory tools and physical design attributes, the study found. In Amsterdam and certain boroughs of London, for example, drivers pay more to park cars that emit higher levels of carbon dioxide. In Hamburg and Zurich, every new off-street parking space that is built is matched with the removal of one on-street space.

In Madrid, physical barriers are used to prevent parking in pedestrian pathways. In Copenhagen, parking spaces have been eliminated and repurposed into bike paths.

Other tools in use across Europe include increased parking fees to reduce parking space occupancy and the need for cars to cruise around searching for spaces; taxes on employers for each parking space available to employees; and limiting the number of parking spaces developers are allowed to build.

"What’s happening in China and India and many other rapidly urbanizing places is they are simply copying the model of the U.S. that has dominated urban development for the last 60 years," said Michael Kodransky, global research manager for the nonprofit group and co-author of its report, "Europe's Parking U-Turn: From Accommodation to Regulation." 

"What we found through this work is that Europe was on a very similar trajectory, but it started to shift away from just catering to increased demand. For a long time there was a connection between economic prosperity and motorization, and in Europe there's been a shift. Cities that are doing quite well are moving away from just catering to car access."

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (3)

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And I thought California was bad on taxing and fees... I'm glad I don't live in Europe.

Parking spaces are not the problem. Parking spaces do not create air pollution.

And meanwhile, the air polluting problem of cars is already being phased out by moving to electric and soon energy cell cars that don't pollute.

So, the issue is not pollution, as addressed in this story, is simply congestion. And the solution being offered here is simply elitist, to price poorer people out of their cars and out of the way of richer people. Get the poor people out of the way so the rich people can come through. That is all this approach offers, to turn anyone but rich people into second class citizens.

Make alternatives to cars a lot cheaper and much more convenient and faster and more pleasant and more dependable and people will want to leave their car behind. Rich people should be leaving their cars behind every bit as much as poorer people.

I note, Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York, rides the subway. I don't see Antonio Villaraigosa or any of the city council members, or any of the members of the MTA board riding the bus to work! How ever can they justify saying I should be forced to do so by pricing me out! That would just be hypocritical.

Sorry...unless buses stop being full of homeless people, brawls, and poo-smell, I won't be giving up my car, and I'll pay a premium to keep it. Maybe at least this means that car ownership will get more expensive and uninsured motorists will be squeezed off the road.


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