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CRF Blog » Blog Archive » Interview of the Day: Donald Shoup

CRF Blog

Interview of the Day: Donald Shoup

by Bill Hayes

In Meter Man, Patt Morrison, a Los Angeles Times columnist, interviews Donald Shoup, a UCLA professor of urban planning and an expert on parking.

America has had parking meters for 80 years. Are they there for making money or behavior modification?

It does produce revenue, and if it didn’t — if the money went to the U.N. or the Iraq war — there wouldn’t be any city that would charge high prices for parking. It’s only if you get a local benefit that people see that parking meters can do some good for them.

When Old Pasadena was almost a skid row, they were the first city in California to dedicate all the meter revenue to public services on the metered streets. Every time you put a quarter in, it comes out on the other side to clean the sidewalk or something else. The merchants thought they would chase people away. When the city said all the revenue would go to pay for services, instantly people said, “Let’s run the meters on Sunday, late at night, charge a higher price.” In Pasadena, you see the meter money at work. In Los Angeles, who knows where it goes? If L.A. did what Pasadena did with parking, it’d be a much better place. [more]