Urban Parking: Rational Policy Approaches for Cities and Towns

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May 20, 2015
By: Chris McCahill and Satya Rhodes-Conway
Parking has been a contentious policy focus in cities and towns around the United States for decades. Residents, visitors, and business owners often lament what they see as parking shortages or unfair prices. Meanwhile, surface lots and parking garages have chipped away at once vibrant urban centers, taking up what is often the most valuable land in the region. Undoubtedly, parking is an important asset to many American cities and, as such, should be viewed as an integral piece of the each city’s transportation and land use system. However, like any land use or any piece of transportation infrastructure, it must be managed properly to ensure it works efficiently and adds value to the community. City officials can accomplish this by leveraging municipally owned parking—both on-street and off—and by regulating and taxing privately owned parking.