Rethinking parking

Parking is an important issue in the City of Yarra, because many people rely on it, and because it takes up so much space. A recent article in Parking and Mobility magazine, by Dr David Mepham, discusses some ways to better address the issue.

Our world has changed — so too should our thoughts about and management of parking. Here’s why it all matters so much.

Dr David Mepham, in Rethinking Parking

The article introduces five viewing themes: the impact of parking on:

  • place,
  • policy,
  • politics,
  • professional practice, and
  • pricing.

Here’s just a couple of quotes:

There is always politics in parking, but it is not always obvious. Our values and beliefs are so deeply ingrained that we rarely step back to question their truth. Values and beliefs are substantially embedded in our subconscious and they run deep, and we can easily become emotional in defending them. We will have values and beliefs about driving and parking, and now we are thinking about inalienable personal rights. This is frequently a feature of parking policy debate and underpins the tendency toward irrational populism, making it difficult to develop rational, evidence based parking policy.

Dr David Mepham, in Rethinking Parking

There is an adjoining policy area that must change— the practice of free and subsidized public parking on high-value, high-access public land in the center, often adjoining transit. These are land assets that have a cost and a potential benefit that is often not transparent to the asset owners — the public. In major cities, we may be talking in terms of hundreds of millions in vaguely listed or unlisted assets and in the larger capitals — billions. Any community survey of attitudes will confirm that car parks are not like public parks and gardens that are available to and enhance the whole community. Understanding the cost-benefit of free or subsidized public parking assets at least enables a rational discussion about what the community wants to achieve and what it is prepared to subsidize, and to carefully consider the merits or otherwise of subsidizing parking.

Dr David Mepham, in Rethinking Parking

Our view

There’s a lot to like in this article – it introduces a range of issues and interdependencies that deserve careful consideration, including:

  • how much space should we allocate to parking,
  • where should we locate parking,
  • how should we regulate access to parking, and
  • how much should we charge for parking.

We recommend reading the article in conjunction with the free first chapter of “Parking and the City”.

Image credit: Routledge

Readers can also learn more at:

Published 20th October 2020.