Let's have less parking, more housing downtown

 Downtown Worcester, with City Hall to right.

Downtown Worcester, with City Hall to right.

  CC BY-SA 3.0 -    Downtown Providence, with the Arcade (1828) at the left.

CC BY-SA 3.0

Downtown Providence, with the Arcade (1828) at the left.

From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in GoLocal24.com


Instead of setting aside more parking places  in old downtowns like Providence’s and Worcester's,  cities would do better to reserve more space for housing there,  boost public transportation 'sand encourage walking and bike-riding so that fewer people need cars (or require Uber and Lyft, which are jamming too many center-city streets).  Setting aside  so many spaces for parking in American cities (space taken from potential new housing, etc.) is bad for the cities’ economies and environment.

The scarcity of new housing, caused in part by antiquated zoning and in part by expensive “prevailing-wage’’ and other laws that can make it very difficult to build housing, obviously raises housing costs. 

Donald Shoup, who’s an internationally known expert on the economics and sociology of urban parking, suggests that employers give workers the  choice of taking the cash value of employer-provided parking rather than parking spaces themselves to encourage them to use public transportation or bikes.

To read an interview with Mr. Shoup, please hit this link