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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Yes, Parking Reform Is Possible: A progress report from the author of 'The High Cost of Free Parking'


What is the right price for curb parking? The price is too high if many curb spaces are vacant and too low if no spaces are vacant. But if one or two curb spaces are open on each block so drivers can always find convenient parking at their destinations, the price is just right. This is the Goldilocks principle of parking prices.

Why should cities charge the right price for curb parking? Because the wrong prices can do so much harm. If the price is too high and many curb spaces are vacant, adjacent businesses will lose customers, employees will lose their jobs, and cities will lose tax revenue. If the price is too low and no curb spaces are vacant, drivers searching for a place to park will congest traffic, waste fuel, and pollute the air.

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