Shoupistas take Los Angeles

by Stephen Smith

Donald Shoup and his arguments about free and underpriced parking have been getting quite a bit of press recently, and it looks like Shoup’s hometown of Los Angeles has surpassed San Francisco (with its SFpark initiative) as the largest city in America to adopt some of his proposals:

The yearlong ExpressPark program, slated to begin next summer, will use not only new meters but also a network of wireless pavement sensors to keep track of parked vehicles in real time. The sensors will help transportation officials determine which meters are in use and which have expired. Eventually, roadside signs will guide motorists to empty spaces in municipal parking garages and lots.

The program — which involves only city-owned parking in a 4.5-square-mile area — will feature adjustable parking rates, or “dynamic pricing.” In other words, when parking demand increases, meter rates increase; when demand drops, rates drop.

“ExpressPark will allow Los Angeles to take the lead in testing new ways to manage curb parking,” said Donald C. Shoup, a UCLA professor of urban planning and a longtime proponent of pricing based on supply and demand. […]

“What we’re striving for is pricing such that 85% of meters are occupied and 15% are open,” said Peer Ghent, senior management analyst with the meter operations division of the city’s Department of Transportation, or LADOT.

That 85/15 number is straight out of Shoup’s book, so it’s a good sign that they plan to hew relatively closely to his ideas, at least in regards to city-managed spots.

One thing that I do wonder is whether this will be paired with an attempt to cut back on LA’s parking minimums, which are surprisingly pervasive in America’s second-largest city. If not (and I don’t see any indication, either in the LA Times article or elsewhere, that comprehensive parking minimum reform in LA is on the table), and if there are many more private-but-mandated parking spaces than there are city-owned ones, the availability of privately-owned spaces could prevent these public spots from charging anywhere near the true market price for parking.

(HT: Planetizen)