Search the Site

Our Daily Bleg: Some Good Parking Solutions, Please

We like to give readers the chance to ask their own bleg — i.e., to use this blog to beg for ideas or information. Here’s an interesting one from a reader named Philip . I look forward to your input; you can send your own bleg suggestions here.

Many cities around the country have parking problems in their urban neighborhoods.

For example, the city of Baltimore is thousands of parking spaces short in its popular neighborhoods southeast of downtown. The result is that people park illegally, which leads to unsafe situations (e.g. blocking alleys or fire hydrants) and lots of parking tickets.

The city doesn’t really have a way to increase the space available for parking because, like many cities, the budget is tight and buying urban land to turn into parking lots is prohibitively expensive. The problem is only going to get worse, as many formerly run-down, empty homes are being renovated, and the new inhabitants bring cars with them.

What are some ways to fix the problem?

Reducing the need for car ownership is one possibility. Improved public transport would help this, but public transport is very expensive.

How about a tax on large cars? If all of the cars were smaller, more cars would fit in the same area. Or, even more drastic, how about a ban on SUVs and pick-up trucks? A limit of one car per household would also make a difference.

Lots of cities need ideas on how to tackle these problems. Maybe the readership could help.

Two quick things to add to Philip’s bleg: there’s a movement in the U.K. to base parking charges on the size of your car, even in your own driveway. Also, one big negative externality produced by scarce parking is congestion caused by cars circling for spots (to say nothing of the added pollution from these same cars).