I want to help you get perspective on your city and its transport system with the help of simple city types based on their dominant transport modes, such as Walking Cities, Transit Cities, Bus Cities, Motorcycle Cities and Car Cities.
This way of thinking about cities is a heuristic (an imperfect mental model or technique that is nevertheless good enough to be helpful). And it obviously is imperfect. For example, real cities often have various modes of transport, and modern cities are really all some kind of hybrid city type.
But it is still useful, especially if we add the idea of a Traffic Saturated City, which is a very different beast from a Car City. It is important for change-makers in Traffic Saturated Cities to be aware they are not in automobile dependent cities yet.
Options for digesting this: Read the brief article below and study the diagrams. They complement the podcast. For more depth, LISTEN to the 37 minute audio with the player above. A full transcript of the podcast is…
We should stop planning parking the way we plan toilets.
I began with that odd (but true) statement to get your attention, obviously. But I am also serious.
Many people think parking policy is boring, which is unfortunate, because boring or not, parking is important.
If you care about cities and urban mobility, you really need to pay some attention to parking.
Most local governments really do plan parking the same way they plan toilets (using minimum parking/toilet requirements) and it is disastrous. More on that below.
Municipalities do this because of another mistake - treating on-street parking as a public good (and therefore failing to manage it properly). Please take note: parking in cities is generally NOT a public good.
These two mistakes cause huge problems:
1. on-street parking problems, which worsen many other mobility and street problems, and
2. a slow-motion disaster of increasingly excessive (but under-used) off-street parking supply which fuels car dependence.