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'Parking guru' wants you to pay more for the right to park your car

October 16, 2010 |  1:09 pm

He thinks about parking -- a lot

UCLA professor Donald Shoup is credited by many for fomenting a long-overdue revolution in parking. At  72, he is invited to expound his theories at brown-bag seminars and transportation conferences all over the world, from San Francisco to Sydney, where he'll speak in November.

Why parking — a mundane, eye-glazing, exasperating aspect of life? (Even Shoup, who finds the subject fascinating, says: "Nothing is more pedestrian than parking.")

According to Shoup, free parking is at the root of many urban ills: congestion, sprawl, wasteful energy use and air pollution.

City governments contribute to all these ills by requiring too many parking spaces for all development, Shoup asserts. The high cost of the required parking, he says, increases the prices we pay for everything else, including housing. "We have expensive housing and free parking," he says. "We have our priorities the wrong way around."

Read the full story here.

-- Martha Groves in Westwood

Photo: Donald Shoup, 72, a professor of urban planning at UCLA, rides his bicycle to campus. “I don’t like paying for parking,” he says. “But free parking is ultimately not beneficial.” (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)