• Ranking the Most Livable, Innovative Cities in America

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Mar 05, 2012

    Is your city among the smartest in terms of urban planning and policy making? Zipcar, Inc. this week released its "Future Metropolis Index," a ranking of highly populated cities in five categories: innovation, sustainability, vibrancy, and creativity-efficiency-livability-optimism (a combo category).Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Boston top the "innovation" category. Tuscon, Portland, and San Francisco are most "sustainable." El Paso, NYC, and San Diego are most "livable."Read the detailsThe ranking drew the attention of Urban Land Magazine.Zipcar commissioned the study by KRC Research. The study co...

  • Federal Funding of Public Transit Takes Potential Turn for the Worse

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Feb 16, 2012

    The debate in Washington over federal funding for surface transportation programs is heating up, so I thought I would update you with regard to where everyone stands.The House Republican proposal to fund surface transportation programs for five years was approved three weeks ago by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The full House is expected to consider the American and Energy Infrastructure Jobs Act later this month.Sponsors describe the measure as “the largest transportation reform bill since the Interstate Highway System was created in 1956.” The bill aims to eliminate ...

  • Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing the Next Big Thing

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Feb 08, 2012

    When I decided to experiment with going car-less over a year ago, I was afraid to get rid of my car completely by selling it, so I decided to rent it to a friend for six months with the caveat that I could use it in case of an emergency. Little did I know I was at the forefront of a movement.Peer-to-Peer car sharing is different from traditional car sharing like Zipcar in that it allows people to rent out their own vehicles to others at rates set by the car owners themselves. An article in Time this week explores the present state of peer-to-peer car sharing in particular the impact on the a...

  • Parking Lots: Possibilities Beneath the Surface

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Jan 10, 2012

    It is often said that the lowest and worst land use is surface parking. So why does the US have so much of it, and could it be used for something other than just parking? These are some of the questions that Michael Kimmelman asks in a New York Times article Paved, but Still Alive."There are said to be at least 105 million and maybe as many as 2 billion parking spaces in the United States. A third of them in parking lots, those asphalt deserts that we claim to hate but that proliferate for our convenience."He goes on to explain that, at the very least, we should take these spaces more serio...

  • Undoing the Damage Done by Urban Freeways

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Dec 27, 2011

    The effort to remove or re-purpose existing freeways and heal the wounds they inflicted on cities continues with the near completion of park Madrid Rio in Madrid, Spain. Madrid Rio sits atop a six-mile stretch of tunnels that now house the old M-30 Freeway.From yesterday's New York Times:"All around the world, highways are being torn down and waterfronts reclaimed; decades of thinking about cars and cities reversed; new public spaces created."New York City master planner Robert Moses famously drove freeways right through neighborhoods until urban activist Jane Jacobs stood up to him. Now, one ...

  • Shopping Malls Using High Tech to Help You Find a Parking Space

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Dec 22, 2011

    During the holiday season, I start thinking a lot about retail parking. It is only during this time of year when the sea of asphalt around most malls and shopping centers fills up.Meandering through a parking deck or lot trolling for a space wastes gas, causes pollution, and diminishes the shopping experience. With shopping centers earning 40% of their annual sales during the six weeks leading to Christmas, they have a strong incentive to make sure customers have a parking space when they arrive.Malls are now using electronic signage, smart phone apps, and even Twitter to ease the pain of try...

  • How to Win Converts to Paid Parking

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Nov 22, 2011

    I, like many transportation consultants, spend a great deal of time trying to convince people that it is in their best interest, and that of their community, to charge for parking. Paid parking encourages all types of positive behavior including employees staying out of customer spaces, the use of alternative transportation, and the funding of needed infrastructure. In a recent issue of Atlantic Cities, Emily Badger interviews Jeff Tumlin, a transportation consultant, about what it takes to sell paid parking. “Somebody who’s screaming about ‘parking needs to be free!’ I can sit down with them...

  • A New Transportation Funding Paradigm

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Nov 11, 2011

    Leaders throughout the country are recognizing the limitations of federal aid and turning to voters to voluntarily increase their taxes or institute additional fees to improve the quality of their transportation networks. Will voters go along?An article in "The Transport Politic" takes a close look at Seattle and Atlanta, each in the midst of its own effort to raise taxes and fees. In Atlanta, a regional initiative supported by political and business leaders across a ten-county area will advance a 1% sales tax to the ballot next November. Over half of the billions in locally raised funds is to...

  • When Should Property Owners Install Electric Car Charging Stations

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Oct 26, 2011

    A year ago, I never got questions about electric charges. Today, I get several inquiries from our clients each week. When a client asks whether or not they should install a charger, I first ask, "What are you trying to accomplish?" If they say, "I want to meet demand and maybe make some money," I explain that there is no demand yet, and the only reason they should install a charger today is for the PR purposes of being a first adopter. Or perhaps the client can take advantage of the tax breaks before they expire. I go on to say, "You do not want to install more than a couple chargers, but you ...

  • Congestion Pricing Only True Road to Relief

    Posted in Beyond Parking on Oct 21, 2011

    How do you relieve traffic congestion? The assumption is that you either need to build more roads, more transit, or both. And most of the time, this pits transit advocates against road advocates. Well, maybe neither is necessary.In a new study published in this month's American Economic Review and reported by Eric Jaffe for The Atlantic Cities called The Only Hope for Reducing Traffic, researchers contend that congestion pricing is the only solution to decrease congestion.Two economists from the University of Toronto analyzed data and road capacity in U.S. cities from 1983 to 2003 and found th...

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