The hidden climate costs of America’s free parking spaces | Environment | The Guardian
“The curb lane is some of the most valuable land on Earth,” said Donald Shoup, a transportation professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “I think that’s our biggest mistake, to take some of the most valuable land on Earth and give it away, free, to cars.”
Street parking doesn’t just take away space. It can inform how people get around. “Parking is one of the things that has a really powerful impact on people’s decisions whether to drive or not,” said Daniel Firth, transportation director at C40 Cities, a network of more than 100 cities around the world with ambitious climate goals.
Shoup and others have found that underpriced street parking keeps people driving in cities, even in those that have good alternative transport options. More people driving means more city traffic – increasing congestion and pumping out pollution.
But cities that want to price, or even convert, free street parking face obstacles – and not just from drivers. Most cities don’t have enough information about how their curbs are used, making it difficult to decide how to manage this valuable space.