In re: High Cost of Free Parking

freep.jpgI finished up Pillars of the Earth the other day and instead of starting in on another page turner (Pillars was just such a book, despite the topic of being about the building of a cathedral the book moves really fast and you get pretty taken into the back stabbing, the rivalries, and the crazy politics that existed circa 1100). Anyway I have a huge stack of books that are awaiting to be read and for some reason I have a lot of non-fiction in that stack (I think I should be reading more fiction, it moves quicker) but I’ve been meaning to get into  The High Cost of Free Parking. by Donald Shoup of UCLA (first mentioned In re: is free parking bad?)

The book is really and is clearly more academic in nature and in its audience (it is probably half footnotes). The topic though is stunning and one that I really feel is compelling, the fact that parking in this country is zoned in such high quantities and the fact that on 99% of car trips people park for free. This doesn’t sound bad except that in reality the cost of all this parking is priced into everything else and this just further encourages people to drive since they already essentially paying for it (for example if you walk to somewhere you are still charged in your purchases for the parking lots – and cities copying each other have zoning that requires huge amounts of parking – meaning that even at peak demand you’ll find spots). Again if we all drive no one really loses out, but everyone driving all the time is the problem, some people want to walk and having everything based around free parking spreads out cities, encourages sprawl and I assume I will learn causes many other problems. I’ve only read a few pages of the hefty book, but already it seems like it should be required reading for politicians and urban planners.

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One Response

  1. Big E,

    I know you mentioned a very large stack of books that you need to read, but if you’re looking for a quick read that’s real sharp on satire (but not the over-the-top annoying kind of satire) pick up anything by Max Barry. The guy has a talent for making rediculous marketing schemes seem believable. My preference for Barry’s books goes in this order:

    1. Jennifer Government
    2. Syrup
    3. Company

    ‘Dward, you will not be disappointed.

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