People will stop cruising for parking when it becomes too expensive

People will stop cruising for parking when it becomes too expensive

By Chris Hubbard, Alexandria
(File Photo)

To the editor:

Please accept this footnote to my previous letter “We can do a better job of encouraging walking and cycling in Old Town” (August 21).

The correlation between drivers cruising for cheap or free parking is well established in research. In the book by Donald Shoup, professor of urban planning at the University of California, “The High Cost of Free Parking,” data presented on page 337 shows that the availability of cheap or free parking significantly increases the number of people cruising for cheap parking, the duration and distance of cruising and parking duration.

Besides metering all parking near the commercial areas, Old Town also needs to provide clear, real-time signage for off-street parking and their vacancy status. People driving into Old Town will take advantage of parking garages or lots much more quickly if on-street parking is priced higher than off-street parking.

It is clear that an increased number of drivers cruising for free parking raises the risk of accidents with pedestrians, bicyclists, joggers and other vehicles, and that waterfront redevelopment plus development at National Harbor will increase the number of visitors to Old Town. Cyclists who fail to stop at stop signs when others are present also will exacerbate the safety risks.

It would be prudent for the city to respond to current research on cheap parking and problematic cruising.