With the debate about parking meter rates and hours raging on both sides of the Bay, Streetsblog called UCLA Professor Donald Shoup, author of The High Cost of Free Parking and arguably the world's foremost parking expert, and asked him his opinion on the new San Francisco MTA parking meter study, which was released on Tuesday and calls for increasing meter hours in commercial districts where parking occupancy rises above 85 percent and where businesses are open late on weekdays and on Sundays.
Professor Shoup had read the study and called it "pathbreaking," lauding the MTA for being thorough and data-driven and for embracing occupancy targets for managing parking supply.
Professor Shoup also re-iterated the importance of Community Benefit Districts (CBDs) as a tool for selling parking reform to the public. In CBDs, a portion of the new meter revenue collected in commercial districts is returned to that district for sidewalk repair, street trees, enhanced street cleaning, etc., so that businesses can see firsthand how parking revenue improves their streets.
MTA Chief Nat Ford told Streetsblog his agency is not yet ready to have that discussion, and further complications arise because the Department of Public Works is responsible for maintaining sidewalks. How and when an arrangement between the two agencies would be brokered is anyone's guess.
Professor Shoup also pointed to Redwood City, Ventura, and Old Pasadena for best practice examples of occupancy-based parking policy changes that have revitalized neighborhoods and facilitated business. Read his full comments after the jump.