1953 brochure, Downtown Washington DC Parker's Guide
Neon parking sign on 11th Street NW, Washington, DC.
Given the spirited discussion in the GGW entry, "Less parking needed for housing atop Metro, not more," about how much parking should be provided in newly constructed multiunit buildings, in response to an action by ANC6E calling on a building to provide more parking than zoning requires, it's worth presenting this brochure, which I recently acquired.
The big problem with parking and curb space management "policy" in DC is that it is focused on maintaining the privileges of current residents, without applying any of the most basic economic principles toward allocating the resource, in a situation where the supply of street parking is fixed.
One problem with underpricing street parking--a residential parking permit costs $35 per year--is that it severely undercuts the ability of off-street parking to be able to be provided profitably, because the market is severely distorted. Therefore developers have no incentive to provide or market off street parking. This further exacerbates the problem.
The brochure is actually focused on providing parking in commercial areas of the city, specifically downtown, and was published by the "Washington Parking Association." Commercial parking isn't the subject of the GGW entry, but it faces the same issues.
By not planning for "parking" by simultaneously addressing the public resource, on street publicly controlled parking, as well as off-street privately controlled parking, it misses a significant portion of the market and supply. But similarly, as long as street parking is significantly cheaper than off-street parking, it makes no sense for most of the office buildings to market parking to non-tenants, and parking is mostly managed as an amenity for office tenants.
Note that cities that have municipal parking structures in addition to controlling on-street parking have many more options at their disposal for managing supply and demand. Hoboken, NJ is one example ("Car sharing gamble in Hoboken has mixed reactions," New York Times) and Pasadena, famously ("Turning Small Change Into Big Changes," Access Magazine, UC Transportation Institute; "The High Cost of Free Parking," Journal of Planning Education and Research; The High Cost of Free Parking, book) is another.
Back to the brochure. The brochure helpfully lists the officers of the association. The president was Lloyd "Bud" Doggett, who was notorious for successfully lobbying Congress to prevent DC as a municipality from building and managing parking structures. See the past blog entry, "My kind of civic leader."
This blog entry, "Transit makes no sense in the Washington region... and it's better to serve 16,500 people/week vs. 70,000 people/day," quotes from a Parking Magazine editorial from 1962 which stated that providing subway service to Downtown Washington to serve commuters made no sense. Obviously, the parking industry is pretty much self-interested, and not focused much on overall urban design, transportation throughput, and placemaking.