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  • How Local Parking Solutions Can Control Size and Cost

    Finding a parking space has challenge motorists through the ages. Whether going shopping or meeting friends for dinner downtown, drivers keep their fingers crossed, hoping they can find a spot. Public parking garages in private valet services have attempted to create local parking solutions that ease the pain of vehicle ownership. You will read some of the details involved in the debate over parking that will help you understand the magnitude and cost of the problem. Inefficient and Expensive Although some companies have tried an automated event parking solution it might work for the general public, the parking industry has largely failed to benefit from the digital revolution. Similarly, drivers often have no way to predict their parking needs, so they can’t reserve spaces ahead of time. Difficulty predicting demand and matching it with a limited and scattered supply of parking spaces challenges even the most educated and skilled planners. Parking in the Wrong Places Methodical research and urban legend have consistently reported that hundreds of millions of parking spaces exist, but for some reason, drivers frequently cannot find just one. For example, some estimates suggest that the United States has about 800 million parking spots available, offering about three spaces for every car in the country. Although such statistics attract interest among the ranks of aggravated car owners, they don’t offer much help. Parking spots cannot move to areas of peak demand. Instead, they stay put, regardless of whether anyone uses them. An event parking solution such as the opening of vacant lots works for athletic games and festivals that cause spikes in the demand for parking. The strategy, however, does not meet the needs of lunchtime crowds or holiday shoppers in crowded urban environments. The Future of Parking Addressing the parking dilemma could involve finding ways to make better use of existing capacity, but the slow-paced of local government action restrains the optimism of the drivers and businesses that need relief. Meanwhile, private interests willing to invest in parking solutions often face myriad restrictions such as zoning and environmental regulations. Financial concerns also stall meaningful action by local governments. Cities reportedly lose about $1,000 in annual tax revenue per parking space, so they naturally tend to approve more retail and commercial projects only to perpetuate the experiences of frustrated drivers. The future articles published here will continue the discussion of the parking problem and try to explain possible solutions that can help drivers find parking spaces they need.