This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

Great post from Josh @ CHS on Capitol Hill’s new parking regulations, and why it might be a good idea to raise rates for street parking. This, in particular, is fascinating:

The most important thing to understand about off-street parking is that it simply is not satisfying a market demand. While trying to find a spot curbside can be a nightmare to say the least, most parking garages in the neighborhood sit empty. In its most recent Comprehensive Parking Study SDOT found that in the residential area surrounding Broadway, off-street parking utilization rates peaked at 50%, with an average at just 40% (along Broadway itself it was 65% and 51% respectively). Even validated retail parking, such as the Broadway Market, was noted by SDOT as being “underused”.

That’s certainly my experience. I can’t remember the last time I paid for parking on the Hill (now, I live close enough that I’m rarely on the Hill in a car). I’ll circle forever before I pay. Rational? No way. But such is the nature of the human mind. Make it a little more expensive to park on the street, and I’ll probably change my mind.

Parking is one of those subjects (like congestion pricing) where normally decent-minded liberals freak out and turn conservative. (Hint: they’re usually making outlandish claims about what’s good or bad for “families,” as if all families can all be lumped into a single bucket.) What people often fail to grasp is that no one’s proposing taking parking away, but rather pricing it appropriately so that it’s used most efficiently. Clearly, 50% occupancy for off-street parking is not an efficient utilization.

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