Feb 20, 2008

Guangzhou parking cure worse than disease?

[Update: Looking for more parking policy information? Try Reinventing Parking.]

Urban Transport News links to some troubling parking news from Guangzhou in southern China.
Guangzhou 50,000 new parking spaces for Guangzhou 2/19/2008 China Daily Parking Wang Dong, director of the Guangzhou urban planning bureau, said the local government plans to build large-scale parking lots at key stations to give motorists better access to the metro service and downtown destinations. "We will increase the total number of parking spaces in the city by 150,000 between now and 2010, with 50,000 coming this year," Wang said. In addition, Wang said the urban planning authority has introduced a new ruling that stipulates all new property developments must provide one car parking space for every 200 sq m of residential accommodation.
The first part is about 'park and ride' at urban rail stations. More on that another time perhaps.

It is the last sentence above that interests me today. OK, "one car space for every 200 sq m" does not seem like a very high parking requirement. My guess is that 200 sq m would typically mean more than two apartments in a Chinese city. So this requirement is probably for less than one car per two units on average. This is a far cry from some US cities that require a parking place for every bedroom!

Nevertheless, I can't help wondering if it is a good idea for Chinese cities to be getting into zoning for parking at all.



The result of parking requirements in Kuala Lumpur?

Do decision-makers in rapidly motorising societies everywhere need to rethink parking policy? There is talk of a "paradigm shift", at least according to Donald Shoup or Todd Litman. We urgently need to know what it will mean for motorising cities. Such places have not yet make the parking mistakes of North America but maybe they are about to?

In what ways might Shoup or Litman's analysis or Shoupista policies be relevant for developing cities such as Indian or Chinese ones?

By the way, Shoup suggests:

  • eliminate off-street parking requirements, so that parking becomes 'unbundled' from other real estate
  • price on-street parking to ensure a few vacancies and eliminate cruising for parking
  • return the street-parking revenue to local benefit districts.


You may say this is premature. Shoup's proposals are aimed at North America where the problem is the oversupply of parking. No-one would say that there is an excess of parking in Delhi or Guangzhou. And in any case, rich western cities have hardly begun to put his ideas into practice.

Traders in Delhi's Green Park are not Shoupistas (not yet).

Nevertheless, I think even cities with low car ownership should be paying close attention to these new parking debates.

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