By Ryan McGreal
Published April 19, 2011
I've been a fan of UCLA economics professor Donald Shoup's work ever since I waded through his opus, The High Cost of Free Parking. Through page after page of painstaking detail, the book debunks the persistent myth that "free" parking is somehow good for urban economies. Some cities have even experimented with Shoup's recommendations, to considerable success.
If you aren't sure you want to commit to a 733 page book, the always-brilliant Streetfilms folks have created a documentary that introduces viewers to Shoup's argument that parking should be priced dynamically to ensure 15% vacancy.
The documentary also looks at SFPark, a municipal initiative in San Francisco that is using careful data collection to provide variable pricing so that motorists don't have to "cruise" around and around a block looking for scarce parking.