Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

The Specious Threat of Spillover Parking

It's stupefying to imagine how much of our built environment is dictated by a concept that is rarely verbalized: spillover parking.

false

Yes, the notion that a customer of Anytown Dry Cleaning might co-opt a parking spot from the Dairy Barn next door is perceived as so pernicious that volumes of zoning code have been devoted to preventing it. The scourge of spillover parking is at the heart of many parking minimums; every business must provide for its maximum parking capacity at all times -- walkability, clean air, and groundwater quality be damned.

Paul Barter at Reinventing Parking takes on these destructive parking policies in a recent post:

Is spillover really a problem in and of itself? Maybe parking reformers should stop saying "it is a problem but we can handle it" and instead say clearly that spillover is NOT the real problem at all. And maybe we should even proclaim that spillover can be a good thing!

The neighbours of a development with a full parking lot are not helpless victims. We CAN prevent parking that we don't want. Or we could welcome it and price it (and maybe even profit from it). The same argument applies to spillover parking in the streets. It can be prevented with enforcement or it can be welcomed, managed and priced.

In a park-once, shared-parking district, parking outside your destination is not a problem. And park-once, shared parking districts are, in many ways, a good thing that we should want more of. So this is where we stand up and unashamedly say that spillover can be a good thing. We like park-once neighbourhoods but we can't have them without spillover! Spillover that is not a nuisance! Parking outside some of your destinations is the whole idea of a park-once district where motorists walk to various destinations after parking anywhere in the area. Park where? We don't care so long as it is legal and not a nuisance.

Elsewhere on the Network today: WalkBikeNewJersey outlines how cycling and walking are essential to our constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Commute by Bike is relieved to find that cycling has its place in even the most conservative quarters of smalltown America. And This Big City asks whether cycling is the key to socially sustainable cities.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Tuesday’s Headlines Fix It First

How voters incentivize politicians to ignore infrastructure upkeep. Plus, are hydrogen trains the future of rail or a shiny distraction?

April 23, 2024

Why We Can’t End Violence on Transit With More Police

Are more cops the answer to violence against transit workers, or is it only driving societal tensions that make attacks more frequent?

April 23, 2024

Justice Dept., Citing Streetsblog Reporting, Threatens to Sue NYPD Over Cops’ Sidewalk Parking

The city is now facing a major civil rights suit from the Biden Administration if it doesn't eliminate illegal parking by cops and other city workers.

April 22, 2024

Five Car Culture Euphemisms We Need To Stop Using

How does everyday language hide the real impact of building a world that functionally requires everyone to drive?

April 22, 2024
See all posts