Does Hamilton need more Parking

Over at Paul Barter’s Reinventing Parking, he goes into detail about the call for more parking in Hamilton, ON. Seems that although the city has plenty of parking now, there is a potential for a parking shortage in years to come.

Paul’s point is that Hamilton has many unused arrows in its parking quiver, like demand pricing and other tools, and makes the point that forcing people on to public transit isn’t the only solution to growth in central cities. To wit:

And anyway, he is making the false assumption that managing parking demand is only about shifting people to ‘walk, or take the bus or ride a bike’.

In fact, managing and pricing parking is ALSO about nudging parking demand around in other ways that do not necessarily involve a shift in mode choices.

For example, what could we expect in Hamilton’s problem areas if Performance Pricing were tried. Some motorists would park for slightly less time, increasing turnover. Some would park a little further from their destination, easing pressure on those problem spots. Valet options might emerge. Some will share a car rather than have each member of a group drive separately to a meeting or lunch.  Some employees will choose off-street facilities rather than shifting their cars around in the streets.

To achieve at least some reduction in parking demand, we don’t actually need to shift anyone to other modes or reduce total demand for trips in cars. Of course, mode shifts would also help but they are just part of the story.

So has Hamilton already maxed out on parking pricing and management? Has it done everything else it could cost-efficiently do so that more parking supply is the only option?

I chuckled at the quote from the local parking manager, and Paul’s response:

Hamilton’s manager of parking operations was also quoted as saying:

To have a vibrant area, you need parking. Not 100 per cent of the people headed to the core will walk, or take a bus or ride a bike.

Wow. What a comment. It sounds like he has already decided the supply option is the right one.

I wonder if the parking manager wanted more supply, read that more parking decks, because it would make his job more secure. Strangely, using better parking management, and the many tools available to managers, would it seems to me make the downtown parking executive a more important cog in the city planning wheel, rather than someone who oversees construction.

Oh, and thanks to Paul for the reference to our Facebook Page.

JVH

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