Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Short Note From Dano and Some Comments From Eli

In the original Rabett Run post on parking and ecology Eli muttered

Let Eli point out one place where he and Dano disagree.  The later writes

Parking lots afford an excellent opportunity to achieve heat island reduction and canopy cover goals. A commitment must be made to allow for fewer parking stalls, as a parking surface area must be reduced and dedicated to tree roots. Progressive jurisdictions may be able to easily make these commitments, as there is growing indication that many areas in the USA may be providing too much parking for various reasons
So many years ago Eli and a buddy found about 100K for a liquid nitrogen tank at the Uni.  Went to the Dean of Engineering to pitch the thing, and the only issue
 was "Not if it costs parking spots"

===================== And the belated reply

My momma taught me that it is bad manners to disagree with my host. And it’s true that some bunnies here might have witnessed Dano get cranky and disagree on occasion. And I hope this next line doesn’t make my ‘but’ look big: things are slowly changing.

For whatever reasons, there are places these days – mostly in the places that are early adopters (see image) – that are actually reducing parking spaces. The old school way was to use the International Transportation Engineers – ITE – Blue Book. This book is the ‘bible’ for transportation folks with regard to quantifying trips, miles, and parking for Privately Owned Vehicles (POVs). Developers are learning that surface parking costs them money: rents on office or residential per square foot are higher than for parking. And the cost per stall to build a parking garage mean that some tenants are priced out because parking fees become out of reach for small business.

Dano just got back from California for some urban forestry work (he wrote part of this in the airport) where increasingly cities are requiring that developers install trees, such that they cover X% of surface after Y years. A typical ratio is 50% tree canopy coverage after Y years (depending on location and climate). An adequate  space for tree root volume is typically the same size as a parking stall. To get 50% coverage you need to take every 8-10th stall for a tree. Developers are learning that they can get away with this because the old ITE way of writing the bible is…well…old. Lots of places are “over-parked” because the way the ITE Blue Book is written is that their numbers are to accommodate peak requirement, which happen only  a handful of days a year. On every other day, there are empty spaces as far as the eye can see.


Eli would only point out that if you plot people and urban planners on a Venn diagram, the overlap ain't great.  FWIW, in Washington DC, the zoning gods are demanding that parking spaces go away if new buildings are permitted in transit corridors.  They may put it gently here, but make no mistake they are not doing so when granting permits.
In its final submission to the Zoning Commission, planners proposed eliminating the mandatory minimum number of parking spaces developers will be required to construct in new buildings in an expanded downtown D.C., leaving the decision entirely to the marketplace. In transit corridors, mandatory parking minimums would be reduced by fifty percent.
Oh yeah, and at most universities you buy a hunting license and have to get there at six in the morning if you don't want to ride the Greyhound to your office.

The Tulane parking Stasi have an honest answer
Question: Why do you sell more permits than there are spaces?
Answer: When you purchase a parking permit we are essentially buying a hunting license, and you are not guaranteed a space. If we reduce the number of permits sold more people who now qualify for permits would not be able to obtain them, so they would not have the opportunity even to look for a space. If sales were capped, permits would have to be rationed and the price of the permit could increase substantially to cover expenses. (Note: Resident freshmen do not qualify for the permit program.)
Question: Why is parking so expensive?
Answer: Parking is actually a bargain compared to charges at some other universities in situations similar to Tulane's. For example, Loyola and Emory, both land-locked universities in urban settings (like Tulane), have higher parking fees than ours. These institutions struggle with the same issues that Tulane faces, such as, where do we put new buildings? (answer: on parking lots), and how do we replace parking spaces? (with garages).


John Mashey said...

As usual, Don Shoup's The High Cost of Free Parking is worthy.
Parking is cheap most places, and sometimes creates dandy mis-incentives.

John said...

Back in the 1960's, the Chancellor of Univ. California, Berkeley, Clark Kerr, said that Univ. Administrators only worried about three* things: parking for the faculty, football for the alumni, and sex for the students.

*in those days, there was little worry about budgets.

Anonymous said...

"at most universities you buy a hunting license and have to get there at six in the morning if you don't want to ride the Greyhound to your office."

Well, most places in the DC area (including Tulane and Howard Universities) are served by the Metro system.

So complaining about parking (and Greyhounds) simply makes no sense.

Besides, don't knock Greyhounds.

They are usually much cheaper than the plane, have a much lower carbon footprint, and can even take less time when the distance is only a few hundred miles.

Hank Roberts said...

When businesses provide:

A free shuttle connecting Emeryville's employers and shopping centers with MacArthur BART station

Hank Roberts said...

ps, for
> hunting license
I'd suggest he meant
[lottery ticket]

Personally I think they ought to extend that approach to parking meters. Make them give you the choice: flat rate and time limit, or "double or nothing" or some more complicated Roulette-wheel, one-slot-bandit kind of gamble.

Run it all as a casino. Guarantee the house wins.
No problem with funding after that. Everybody's happy.

Russell Seitz said...

If a hunting license is provided, deerhounds would make better sense.

Brian said...

Urban universities also have city planners breathing down their necks to reduce impervious surface coverage, at least here in California. And those planners get the first pass at new building permits.