A Pile of Shoup
In case anybody is wondering whether Professor Shoup, the parking guru, is a whacko (at best), take a look at the following. Not only does a surfer end up thinking this guy has big shoes and orange hair, but a local businesswoman seems to suspect that he’s kind of a scam to mess up local parking AND fill city coffers. In fact, it might be that city councils hire Shoup to do studies that allow them to justify raising parking fees.
'Guru' can't convince the critics at meeting
By Chet Barfield
March 22, 2007
LA JOLLA – An expert they call “the parking guru” came to La Jolla last night with an impressive multimedia presentation based on his book, “The High Cost of Free Parking.”
But despite all his charts, figures and case studies of what other cities have done, UCLA professor Donald Shoup couldn't convince many of the skeptics in the crowd that charging for parking at La Jolla's beaches and businesses is the way to go.
“Housing is wildly expensive in La Jolla but it's rent-free for cars. I think you've got it the wrong way,” Shoup told an audience of more than 100 at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art.
The nationally recognized parking expert spoke at the invitation of the La Jolla Community Parking District Advisory Board, a nine-member panel that has been heavily influenced by his research.
The board this month began circulating a draft “parking management plan” that proposes creating more turnover of spaces by charging for parking at La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Shores, the Prospect Street retail village and the Bird Rock business zone along La Jolla Boulevard.
To deter spillover parking into surrounding neighborhoods, the plan proposes setting time limits there and having residents buy permits.
The draft proposal, expected to be debated for months, is drawing plenty of opposition. If the plan is approved, La Jolla would become the first San Diego community to charge for coastal parking.
Shoup said the main problem in areas such as La Jolla is people circling the blocks looking for free spaces while paid parking is available in garages and lots.
“When a car pulls out of one of the diagonal spots on Prospect Street, often the very next car pulls in,” he said. “A lot of the (drivers) that you see on the streets aren't going anywhere. They've already arrived, and they're looking for a place to park.”
He said an optimum 15 percent vacancy rate could be achieved through new high-tech pay stations with rates that could fluctuate up or down, depending on demand.
After his 45-minute presentation, Shoup had time to answer only eight of the dozens of questions submitted on index cards and drawn from a fishbowl by a parking board member.
One was from surfer Ken David, who asked about restricting public beach access. (Shoup's answer: More turnover means more access for more people.)
“I just think this will have a negative, limiting affect,” David said afterward. “I don't think I can bring my surfboard on the bus.”
Also not convinced was Gina Phillips, a La Jolla native who employs 48 workers in her Girard Avenue florist shop.
“The only way this is going to work is if the (parking) money stays in La Jolla” rather than feeding San Diego's coffers, she said. “I just think it needs to be looked into a lot more.”