Stakeholder Compromise or Simply Read the Book Before you Start

Singapore seems to be following the happenings in SF day by day and the city state’s Paul Barter over at Reinventing Parking is giving good advice to the city. As I have pointed out before areas where the city is beginning to charge for parking for the first time are picking up their torches and pitchforks and its getting pretty hot.  They neglected to take into consideration the third leg of Shoup’s trivecta, “Return the money to the neighborhood from wince it came.”

Paul calls this a stakeholder compromise. In other words, make the concept of paying for parking more attractive by giving something back.  To wit:

Local stakeholders care about their local parking. Some get territorial about it. This reform suggestion aims to be realistic that people feel a sense of ownership about public spaces in their neighborhoods, including the parking in the streets. They don’t “own” these streets but local governments soon learn that it is foolish to ram through parking reforms that ignore territorial sentiments about parking.

The folks opposed to change also tend to feel more strongly about it than anyone else. So, in social-science-speak, this reform direction is also about defusing the collective action problems associated with parking reform.

So Adaptive Parking reform direction #3 is about giving local stakeholders more reasons to like the reforms and fewer reasons to fear them. It is about accepting that people feel territorial about “their” streets and that we may need to placate those feelings. But it urges us to do so without losing the spirit of the reform. Any compromises should be consistent with the goal of Adaptive Parking to increase the market responsiveness of the local parking system.

The problem in SF is that money from parking is mandated to go to the MTA to fund transportation services, not parking or city services. It seems the folks at SFPark started down this path years ago without considering what was going to happen when they began charging where no charging had gone before.

They seem wedded to Shoup’s theories, but missed a third of the book. He wrote eloquently about how South Pasadena sold their merchants on charging for on street parking by committing to revesting in the neighborhoods and spending the money to improve both infrastructure and parking.

SF seems to be caught. Its hard to imagine MTA giving up any of the millions it receives from parking so there you go. Plus there is a large public transit lobby that wants cars gone, period.

However, if memory serves, Shoupistas have a solution.  Let the MTA have the money it is getting now, and give the INCREASE back to the neighborhoods. Everybody wins.

It won’t happen, though. Metro has most likely spent the money it is expecting from the new parking fees so good luck. However there is room for compromise as recommended by Barter. The city has already yielded on charging for parking after hours and on weekends. And this means that some creative parking magic might still win the day.

We shall see if a blend of Shoupista and Singapore Parking will take hold in San Francisco.


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One Response to Stakeholder Compromise or Simply Read the Book Before you Start

  1. Brandy Stanley says:

    Funny – using fees generated from people driving to fund an agency that doesn’t want anybody to drive. Where do they go for money when/if they succeed in getting less people on the road?

    Look what happened to fees from gas taxes that went to fund roads – it has dried up as car manufacturers make cars with better gas mileage. So now you have the same number of cars (most likely more) driving on the roads but your maintenance and expansion money now has to come from other sources.

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