All Parking Is Political, Shoup Says

Distinguished Research Professor of Urban Planning Donald Shoup was featured in a Bloomberg article arguing for the abolition of free parking. According to Shoup, drivers are subsidized at the expense of everyone else, and there is “no such thing as free parking.” He proposed pricing street parking according to market value, including desirability of the space, time of day and the number of open spots. Then, he suggested spending the revenue from street parking to better the surrounding neighborhoods. Parking is the most obvious way to make progress on issues including affordable housing, global warming, gender equity and systemic racism, Shoup said. Now, the pandemic has challenged modern notions about parking in America, with many parking lots converted into restaurant spaces and dramatic decreases in traffic. Shoup sees this as an opportunity to facilitate a dialogue about parking in order to make cities more equitable, affordable and environmentally conscious. “All parking is political,” he concluded.

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