SDOT's Demand-Side Economics
My latest Urban Upgrade column for the magazine is out.
This month it's about SDOT going forward with a (gasp!) Mayor Mike McGinn-era program to charge different rates for parking spaces in different neighborhoods (depending on demand), while also extending paid parking hours in some areas.
Since 2010, SDOT increased parking rates in 13 high-demand areas and decreased rates in 20 lower-demand areas; the goal is having a 70 to 85 percent occupancy rate in all areas (the moving target is dictated by the different supply in different areas).
This time SDOT will increase prices in four locations, including Pike/Pine, where average occupancy is 93 percent, and decrease them in seven, like part of the U District, where occupancy hovers around 56 percent. (Go to page 16 in SDOT's recent council presentation to see all the proposed changes.)
SDOT also has a "watch list" of areas they're still evaluating, where parking occupancy rates fall five points on either side of the 70 to 85 range. They may propose changing rates in the "Watch List" spots as well.
The column concludes:
SDOT has experimented with data-driven parking policy since 2011, when, for example, it extended paid parking into the evening. And—surprise—it freed up more spots. So as irritating as it may be that the new regs will force you to consider parking less, it also means others will do the same. Which means more spots will be open, which—as economics works—means you might be able to park more.