Tacoma Urbanist

Nov. 19, 2008 at 12:11am

Weekly Volcano via Reporter Chuck Dula Nails Parking


Sure, we expect the Weekly Volcano to provide Tacomans with the latest venue for cheap drinks and bathroom reviews.  But who would have guessed the Weekly Volcano would publish perhaps the most cogent, well researched article ever published (with one exception) in Tacoma on parking?

Enter Reporter Chuck Dula:

For this assignment, the Volcano assigned Chuck Dula.

To prepare for the article, Dula did actual peer reviewed research for "You Make Me Want to Shoup":

It's just too bad there isn't a professor of urban planning who has presented irrefutable evidence that such parking tactics can work.

Wait a minute…

Prof. Donald Shoup is the professor of Urban Planning at UCLA and the lead authority on parking in the United States...

In his book, Shoup states that the market price of metered parking should be set so that, on average, 15 percent of all parking spots will be vacant... By having the metered parking price set high enough that a 15 percent vacancy is attained you can in turn decrease “cruising” for spots which will decrease pollution from emissions as well as decrease congestion and energy use.

Impressive.  Dula also explains why Olympia has different rates for different areas downtown based on demand for parking:

If you are ever looking for parking in Olympia between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, you will see something a little different — green, silver, and yellow domes. The green-domed meters allow you to park for three hours at a cost of 50 cents/hour; Silver-domed meters allow you to park for nine hours at a cost of 35 cents/hour; and finally, for a penny, nickel, or dime, a Yellow-domed meter will allow you to park for a maximum of 15 minutes.

Tacoma's elected leaders and other "stakeholders" downtown need to view Shoup's video again and again:


Dula's article gives me hope for Tacoma's media.  Perhaps the piece will help the city to make good and sound decisions on parking.

comments [7]  |  posted under Tacoma


by thriceallamerican on 11/19/2008 @ 8:42am
So, uh, a link to the article????

by Erik on 11/19/2008 @ 9:39am
So, uh, a link to the article

Thanks Jamie. Done.

Here's an article from Pasadena that is referenced:


by fredo on 11/19/2008 @ 6:32pm
As long as we're discussing Tacoma's parking problems, I'll mention what I think is the most irritating practice in town. It's the zoned parking that people in densely populated areas are able to claim for themselves. Even when these spaces are vacant you can't park there. The streets that the city is selling to these residents on the cheap were bought and paid for by the taxpayers of the city.

by Erik on 11/19/2008 @ 11:09pm
As long as we're discussing Tacoma's parking problems, I'll mention what I think is the most irritating practice in town. It's the zoned parking that people in densely populated areas are able to claim for themselves

Yep. That's a huge problems. Over the years, the city has designated far too many publically owned areas for private use only with residential parking districts.

There are also areas in mixed use centers such in Stadium with no time limits whatsoever where people basically camp their cars for days.

Similarly, the city has created far too many "loading zones" which are largely unoccupied. They created the excessive loading zones as a method to try to create some vacancies. Yet, the both areas end up being very underutilized.

Placing more of the parking spaces back into the common parking pool will benefit businesses and result in lower parking rates.

by NineInchNachos on 11/19/2008 @ 11:32pm
What can we do about it? hassle the city council? What must we do Tacoma Urbanist? We the parking downtrodden look to you for leadership!

by NineInchNachos on 11/19/2008 @ 11:33pm
seems like parking meters would have been a better investment for downtown than the limp-wrist convention center

by Erik on 11/19/2008 @ 11:50pm
What can we do about it?

The citizens of Tacoma can scrutinize the parking recommendations that is eventually proposed.

The question will be whether the final recommendations follow the best practices in parking methodology for the common good or are simply a political compromise from the various interest groups and the revenue desires of the city.

Time limits

Nada. Time limits are unnecessary when the parking rates are set right.

Right now, parking in an area will soon result in the city giving your car a type of "scarlet letter" when the parking official places the car into their system. Once in, the car will be hounded by the city under the threat of "chain parking" if it stays in the same area even if there is ample parking around.

This is a really a harmful policy resulting in people who want to be downtown being expunged from the area, likely to the mall under the intention guise of creating "turnover."

If the price for parking is set right at the LOWEST price needed to create a 15 percent vacancy, one can forget about the type of user or how long they stay.