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Car park solutions

Car park solutions is a large subject and in its entirety could be described as verging on the vast. There are geographical factors at work here and, of course, cultural variations.

One elementary point to note is that vehicle density relative to area is highly significant. For example, to take an extreme example, we do not think it probable that this article receives many studious online visitors from the sparsely populated People's Republic of Mongolia because even in Ulanbaator the capital space to park is likely to be in over-supply. Conversely, we expect cyberspace visitors from Singapore to visit frequently to see if our insight can be adapted to that most crowded of city states.

Our submission is that there are six general headings in any comprehensive analysis of car park solutions.

  • Increase parking supply
  • Contrive to use existing parking facilities (more) efficiently
  • Deal with variable parking demand and supply situations
  • Somehow lower the demand for parking
  • Address what to do when existing parking is filled to capacity
  • Attend to management and design factors

In the crowded great cities of the world increasing parking supply can be a (very) tall order. The prices for ground-level parking are likely to be so huge in the inner cities that only commensurately highly-priced executives and similar would be able to use such facilities for more than a brief time.

On reflection when considering car park solutions it seems to us that in the matter of increasing the supply of parking, one's thinking could be along the general lines of:

  • Create strict parking requirements to make parking difficult
  • Somehow contrive to maximise on-street parking to the limit
  • Subsidise on-street parking (a questionable solution)
  • Arrange a remote location away from an attraction and some kind of service to take the motorist to the attraction, e.g. a laid-on bus service
  • Rework the extant parking facilities to squeeze more vehicles in
  • Stacking the vehicles (controversial)
  • It has come to our notice that the inner-city parking planning subculture in Hungary favours a species of high-rise automated parking system where machinery puts the vehicles into and out of stacks without human intervention.

    Using high-powered management techniques to raise up the efficiency of existing parking springs to mind. On reflection we think our thinking could be on the lines of:

  • Improving information to the potential would-be parkers
    • Bring it to the notice of, say, people attending a popular concert, that a remote parking facility is at hand entailing a bit of a walk
    • Make conditions for being able to park difficult with higher standards in the rules and regulations
    • Doing things to improve pedestrian facilities
    • Encourage shared parking
    • Encourage parking on public grounds as opposed to limited private grounds, say, at a concert venue
    • Making access to the venue faster and easier so parking can be for shorter periods
    • Limiting parking to only certain specific categories, e.g. making it for light-weight private motor cars only: No trucks, vans or lorries to be permitted
    • Make a fuss over giving people parking passes/permits

    All kinds of ingenuity and innovation can be deployed to adapt the above to local conditions and local people for car park solutions.

    A little reflection leads to realising that demand for parking varies tremendously from time to time and consequently the supply can be varied proportionately. Daytime weekday demand for parking in the legendary City of London is likely to be (much) higher than at night-time and the weekend parking demand. The C of L city fathers can profitably see to it that all manner of daytime overflow facilities are laid on that are not there for the hours of darkness and during the weekend periods throughout all hours.

    It seems to us that our thinking could be along the lines of:

    • Arranging an agency system whereby third parties contract to provide for exceptionally high demand levels.
    • Set up an overflow facility that is only for emergencies
    • Controversial: Increase prices for parking during peak periods only, thereby pricing out people who do not want to pay premium rates duringt those time

    Readers who are well versed in the intricacies of parking in their particular localities are able to add to that list.

    London's charismatic mayor (who is tipped to be a possible future prime minister) Boris Johnson, has been investigating ways and means of actually reducing parking demand systematically. While being careful not to seem to be lecturing such an eminent public figure we make the following humble suggestions:

    • Pricing poorer motorists out by raising the price of parking
    • Controversial: Taxing parking so that the government inhibits demand while receiving the taxation income
    • Making public transport (and other transport) more attractive
    • Make parking seem to be antisocial in the public eye
    • Controversial: Reduce parking facilities to the end that demand falls in line with supply (?)
    • Boris Johnson approved: Lay on extensive bicycle riding and bicycle parking facilities, exemplified by 'Boris bikes' all over Central London

    When parking facilities are filled to the limits usually something has to be done to address the 'spillover.' Our suggestions include:

  • Tailor-made pricing for spillover parking according to the extent of the spillover
  • When local streets and other facilities (such as the private car parks of other companies) are deployed in great numbers owing to the crushing demand, paying the parties concerned for the usage of their facilities

    Improving management and design is our controversial suggestion. Some readers might dislike our assuming that their preferred management ways leave room for improvement, ditto for design.

    At the risk of putting these management professionals' backs up we make the following humble suggestions:

    • Use advanced management methods and modern IT know-how to make enforcement of parking better
    • Use high-end graphic designers to improve all communication to customers with better design
    • Careful choice of parking sites
    • Giving attention to safety and security matters
    • Attending to aesthetics so that the car park is the opposite of an eyesore (for example by planting attractive trees and bushes)
    • When the surface is impervious to water, runoff charging for the antisocial follow-ons such as adding to the flooding implications
    • Attend to (with flooding in mind) all manner of storm drain and similar things and (in hot climates particularly) heat gain factors

    Deciding what to add to our humble suggestions and what to leave out depends heavily on how the management team, the local culture and local conditions happen to be.

    Every country has to have a parking policy with few exceptions such as the aforementioned Outer Mongolian situation.