The Arizona Republic reports that “Cheap Parking May Hurt Light Rail,” stating:
“It costs less to park in downtown Phoenix than in downtown Boise, Idaho. In fact, downtown Phoenix garages cost less than a third of the national average, with supply dwarfing demand... That may be bad news for the Valley's light-rail system, as cheap and widespread parking in the core can discourage transit ridership.”
Perhaps a better headline would have been “Proposal may hurt inexpensive downtown parking.” Call me crazy, but I think it is a good thing that downtown parking is inexpensive.
Light-rail advocates envision a valley full of people with a Petula Clark-like obsession with downtown, so anxious that they will pack a light-rail system to get there. The reality is quite different. The low price of downtown parking reflects a generally low desire to visit downtown. Increasing the price of parking will drive that limited demand down even further.
Downtown boosters should think twice before making it artificially expensive to park, as it would simply give citizens and businesses a good reason to stay away.
Matthew Ladner is director of state projects at the Alliance for School Choice and a Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow.
-Goldwater Institute: "Buses, Trains and Automobiles: Finding the Right Transportation Mix for the Phoenix Metro Region"
-Goldwater Institute: "Light Rail: Inefficient, Ineffective and Unfair"
- Arizona Republic: "Cheap parking may hurt light rail"