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Old 02-25-2013, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 408,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
It's been well documented that parking is not "free."

Check out Donald Shoup's book "The Cost of Free Parking" if you want to read it straight from the world's expert in this topic. Or get the short version in Jeff Speck's recent book "Walkable City."

After you read Shoup you'll reconsider the stance that free parking is good for business. Of course it depends on location, I suppose, but in most urban environments businesses often do not benefit from "free" parking.
But, see I don't feel like I need to read a book in this case to show me something that I (and just about everybody I know and have ever met) already knows....in the majority of the United States (as you said, "it depends on location") people drive places. Whether your quest (as many other on here have made it their own) is to have more "mixed-use, walkable" environments for people to live/work/shop/etc in, or not...the bottom line is a large portion of people right now live in places where it's not convenient to access things without a car. And honestly, I'd be willing to bet that a lot of folks (not everyone) like this arrangement..they don't want to live in a dense, even denser area. They don't want to have a grocery store 2 blocks away, or live upstairs from the barber, or have to take a train to get anywhere outside of a 10-20 minute walk. Not everyone, maybe 2/3rds of the country if I had to guess. The rest of the folks can migrate to our cities and enjoy their walkable lives there while those who want nothing to do with that (like myself) can enjoy our free, convenient parking in day to day life.

If I were shopping here ( Google Maps ), yes, I wouldn't expect there to be any free parking. I've shopped in Manhattan many times....sometimes by transit, sometimes by driving in. I don't expect a place like this where land is very expensive, transit is excellent, people prefer the "walkable" life and it's an experience in it's own.

But when I'm not in the mood to deal with the crowded city, I enjoy what millions of other Americans also enjoy... places like this ( Google Maps ) or places like this ( Google Maps ) so that I can easily and conveniently (5-10 minute drive from home) take care of my business, and be able to live in a nice, quiet suburban-style neighborhood and home (for NYC at least).
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:22 PM
 
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Sounds like you definitely need to read the book, then, as there's a lot of data out there to show that sometimes what people assume is good for business doesn't actually match the reality. He talks a lot about handling the parking spots on the street, for example; you don't want to have the street parking in front of your business to be unmetered (unless, I suppose, you live in a very quiet small town with no traffic and no parking problems ever) because people can just park and stay there all day, making it less convenient for your customers. Better to have that metered, and priced accordingly, to ensure that there's always somewhere for your customers to park.

If talking about modern suburbia and its sprawling surface parking lots, that comes at a cost, too. It costs money to build and maintain those (beyond environmental costs, etc.), and those costs are passed on to customers. Of course most customers probably don't care, as if you choose to live in an auto-centric suburb that's just part of the costs of living life, but the costs are still there, just hidden. I don't care if those places have free parking (although I think it's unfortunate that so much of this country is paved over), but where it DOES make me mad is when these suburban-style parking requirements are shoehorned into urban neighborhoods ("urban" meaning in form, and so including small down downtowns) where it really doesn't make sense.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:41 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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@KeepRightPassLeft

Of course, since land is much cheaper in your low density Staten Island example, the free parking isn't very expensive for the business to provide while in your Manhattan example it would be prohibitively expensive. In an in between area, a business could choose to charge for parking rather than passing the costs over to every consumer, but that's often more trouble than it's worth.

The Manhattan example is crowded but enjoyable (to me) to visit. The Staten Island example it'd nice if it were a bit more pedestrian friendly rather than just auto-oriented.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:49 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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The main thing I don't understand is why places should have off street parking requirements (except maybe places where there's issues with lack of on-street parking). If a mall wants to build 1000 parking spots, that's fine, but if they think they they're better off with only 500 (or none), why should they be forced to build more?

Anyways, if malls charged for parking, that would allow them to reduce rents for their retail units, which would allow these in turn to reduce prices of goods. It won't do much for those who drive, but for those teenagers or seniors taking transit anyways, it could encourage them to buy more stuff. Some drivers might switch to transit or walking too if they live relatively close and could walk but drove to save 2 minutes of time because it was free. These people would probably buy more too. Those who drive would have higher shopping costs when including the cost of parking. It's hard to say if it will be worth it overall though, especially since the mall would have to pay to parking booths/attendants.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:53 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
The main thing I don't understand is why places should have off street parking requirements (except maybe places where there's issues with lack of on-street parking). If a mall wants to build 1000 parking spots, that's fine, but if they think they they're better off with only 500 (or none), why should they be forced to build more?
Because customers will use the neighboring business that did construct parking or (the horrors!) street park on a nearby residential street.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:59 PM
 
9,524 posts, read 14,893,344 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
Anyways, if malls charged for parking, that would allow them to reduce rents for their retail units, which would allow these in turn to reduce prices of goods.
Or, the mall down the road which didn't charge for parking would get the lion's share of the business. Even a comparatively small barrier like a parking fee would greatly reduce the number of people shopping in the mall and the time they take shopping in it.

Think about text messages. If you have an unlimited plan, you text away with abandon. But if every text costs you $0.10, you begrudge every one, even if you're unlikely to send that many even if you didn't worry about it.

Same thing for the mall -- if the only thing shopping is going to cost you is gas and time, you're more likely to do it than if you're going to have to pay a few bucks just to park. And you'll spend more time in the mall if there isn't a meter ticking away on your parking. That's why it usually makes sense for malls to provide free parking.

Last edited by nybbler; 02-25-2013 at 09:08 PM..
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 408,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
Sounds like you definitely need to read the book, then, as there's a lot of data out there to show that sometimes what people assume is good for business doesn't actually match the reality. He talks a lot about handling the parking spots on the street, for example; you don't want to have the street parking in front of your business to be unmetered (unless, I suppose, you live in a very quiet small town with no traffic and no parking problems ever) because people can just park and stay there all day, making it less convenient for your customers. Better to have that metered, and priced accordingly, to ensure that there's always somewhere for your customers to park.
Hmm, maybe one day I will get around to checking it out...I like to take in the opposing viewpoints on the occasion. I can totally understand the idea behind TIMED parking, especially in the sense of off-street near businesses...but the whole metering thing is complete bull in many cases. Maybe in places where street space is at a premium (like midtown Manhattan, downtown Brooklyn, Long Island City, etc) I can understand it a little bit...but around here, a lot of these meters are just another money squeeze on people out trying to live their lives and go about their business. Theres a deli not too far from my house, I know for a fact has lost business as I've heard the owners talking, when the city installed meters on the side street next to them. Mind you, I don't live in an area stressed for street parking, its pretty sprawled and comfortable...but the city put them in most likely to keep people from parking there all day. Previously, there were 1 hour parking signs on this corner, which served sufficiently, as "meter maids" as I call 'em would come around and ticket cars that decided to park there and take the nearby buses and trains...and rightfully so, it's a PITA to park on that corner. Now that they have meters, people do exactly the same thing, but the "meter maids" now have two ticketable offenses they can get you for, quite easily. Of course, you can avoid one of those tickets easily by giving up some of your hard earned coin up front (and were not talking about cutesy $0.25 per half hour meters of the '90s here) to the Bloomberg Revenue Enhancement Division for the privilege of buying a bagel and a coffee...or you could just do what I and a lot of people I know have been doing and drive 2 minutes away to a similar deli with a nice free strip mall-style parking lot up front, lol.

The first deli, before the meters were put in on this one way street... Google Maps

The second one Google Maps (nice caddy!)

Quote:
If talking about modern suburbia and its sprawling surface parking lots, that comes at a cost, too. It costs money to build and maintain those (beyond environmental costs, etc.), and those costs are passed on to customers. Of course most customers probably don't care, as if you choose to live in an auto-centric suburb that's just part of the costs of living life, but the costs are still there, just hidden. I don't care if those places have free parking (although I think it's unfortunate that so much of this country is paved over), but where it DOES make me mad is when these suburban-style parking requirements are shoehorned into urban neighborhoods ("urban" meaning in form, and so including small down downtowns) where it really doesn't make sense.
I would agree, as a customer myself, that most customers don't care in these suburban areas because the availability of abundant, free parking is part of the conveinence of going to those stores to begin with. Of course, some specialty stores/businesses that I frequent do not have the availability of a lot, or even free parking (though you could always park outside of the metered zone on a residential street for free, I don't mind the walk usually ) and yet I will still frequent them because they offer something to me that the "big box" or strip mall retailers don't. But if I can get something at a similar or cheaper price, something I don't need to possibly inconvenience myself for somewhere else (like driving to Brooklyn or Manhattan) I have no issue with going to the place with the nice big parking lot. As far as most "urban" environments go, I'm all for parking as it allows people to get there by car, since not everybody can, nor wants to arrive there by mass transit, walking or bike. That being said, I think it all depends on the layout, but a paid, underground or parking deck arrangement works instead of a giant surface parking lot if its really a concern to the developers or city/town planners, but I personally don't care if they knock down some old examples of "urbanism" to build a surface parking lot. I drive, so maybe I'm biased..but even if I didn't drive, I really couldn't care less how many parking lots there are.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:01 PM
 
Location: in here, out there
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The last time I checked most of the USA is open land and there is enough of it to pave over for parking if that's what your business needs.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 408,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
@KeepRightPassLeft

Of course, since land is much cheaper in your low density Staten Island example, the free parking isn't very expensive for the business to provide while in your Manhattan example it would be prohibitively expensive. In an in between area, a business could choose to charge for parking rather than passing the costs over to every consumer, but that's often more trouble than it's worth.

The Manhattan example is crowded but enjoyable (to me) to visit. The Staten Island example it'd nice if it were a bit more pedestrian friendly rather than just auto-oriented.
I can agree to the fact that the closer you get to a Manhattan-esque density, the more sensible it would be to pass some of the costs onto motorists, especially when the whole premise of the area is focused on being transit and walking oriented.

As far as the Staten Island examples, maybe it's my own bias having grown up here, and had to traverse both sprawled-out developments without a car...but they both work just fine if you're going there by bus, walking or bike riding. Both have excellent transit access, however they're not located "next to" any serious residential development, most people around here would prefer that. Of course, the big Pathmark/KMart/strip mall is located not too far from a shopping mall and some condos/townhouses, so people who wanna live "where it all is" can move there and be able to walk. I would know, I grew up in a development less than a mile away, and we used to walk to the "autocentric" suburban-style shopping mall all the time without ever having any issues with it.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 408,814 times
Reputation: 661
Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
Anyways, if malls charged for parking, that would allow them to reduce rents for their retail units, which would allow these in turn to reduce prices of goods. It won't do much for those who drive, but for those teenagers or seniors taking transit anyways, it could encourage them to buy more stuff. Some drivers might switch to transit or walking too if they live relatively close and could walk but drove to save 2 minutes of time because it was free. These people would probably buy more too. Those who drive would have higher shopping costs when including the cost of parking. It's hard to say if it will be worth it overall though, especially since the mall would have to pay to parking booths/attendants.
I doubt that it would make any difference, especially in my own experiences. I work adjacent to the Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City, they charge a relatively high expense to park for a New Jersey shopping mall (or a bargain for parking, compared to parking near shopping in neighboring Manhattan, depending on how you look at it lol). Nothing in the mall seems to be cheaper than in any other suburban shopping mall I've been to in the region, in fact theres a chance things may be more expensive in some stores. Theres a few stores which do receive some form of tax break, however, due to some kind of "Urban Enterprise Zone" economic incentive by the state for businesses to locate in the struggling city.

Newport Centre's Parking Rates

Monday thru Friday

0-1 hour $2.00
1-2 hours $2.25
2-3 hours $3.50
3-4 hours $5.50
4-6 hours $10.00
6-24 hours $22.00
Lost parking ticket fee is $22

Saturday and Sunday

0-1 hour $2.00
1-2 hours $2.25
2-3 hours $3.50
3-4 hours $5.50
4-24 hours $10.00
Lost parking ticket fee is $10
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