A brief Hiatus from blogging– But still talking about parking

They say a hiatus is good for the soul but the problem is getting going again.  Being lazy is easy, starting to think again is hard.

In the past few days I have had meetings with the staff, and attended and spoken to the Intelligent Transportation Society’s annual meeting held this year in Palm Springs.  I was on the dais with and frankly humbled by folks who seem to know a bit about parking, certainly a bit more than I.

The topic was "Free Market pricing of Parking" and the other speakers had some real world experience.

Dan Zack from the City of Redwood City (not the City of Redwood, as our host described his employer), told of how he had actually implemented a Pricing program that was in the process of solving the downtown ills of the San Francisco ‘burb.

Todd Dykstra of Streetline regaled us on the technology of monitoring on street parking spaces and detailed the results of a study done for the Port of San Francisco.  Its surprising, or maybe not, but most of the time cars occupy parking spaces for which they haven’t paid.

And Tilly Chang of the San Francisco Transportation Authority told us of the City’s ills as it relates to parking and humbled us with some facts and figures as to the size of a problem none of the other three on the stage had ever attempted to tackle.

I began the lecture with an overview of Don Shoup’s theories. Its great to talk about theories. Who can argue?

This was the first time I knew of that the transportation industry and the parking industry actually glanced off each other. My experience is that each sees the other as a separate entity. The opposite is of course the truth.

Parking is as much a part of transportation as is a bridge, traffic signal, or construction crew on the 405. We are a bridge that connects two parts of transportation, car to feet, car to airplane, car to elevator, etc.

If we do our job well, we are transparent to the process. But if we screw it up, we are the part that is remembered. And usually not with a lot of kindness.

JVH

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