A simple parking idea.

Parking is a chief complaint in many cities across the U.S. I know that people have complained about it multiple times.

Yeah, It’s a real nuisance, no doubt, but there are things we can do to make parking better in the city.

Take for example 6th Street here in Mankato. It’s a smaller street (which I love) with on-street parking on both sides. However, when November 1st rolls around parking on both sides is no more. Due to the snow we’re bound to get, the city decided the street will shrink too small with parking on both sides and snow banks gathering up. Rightfully so.

Here’s the problem with on street parking however, you don’t really get full use out of it. For example, when you put in a driveway, you’re actually eliminating a public asset for a private good. A curb cut eliminates a public parking spot so that someone can have a private parking driveway. You’re then not allowed to park in front of this curb cut (for obvious reasons.)

If you want to learn more about parking, I highly, highly recommend the Freakonomics podcast: Parking is hell. They interview Donald Shoup, the kind of parking and talk about how much space we waste on it.

Here’s my proposal: Let people park in front of driveways. It’s simple, it would take some leg work up front, but have little problems later on.

The city goes around and numbers the driveways, you’re then responsible for painting that number on your driveway or marking it in some fashion. Your car or cars are then given stickers issued by the city with that number on it. A simple DMV check or your license should prove whether you actually live there or not.

Why you ask? Well a lot of older homes have small driveways that only fit one car, even though they may have alley access, it doesn’t mean it’s where there cars are parked. Take 6th Street again. The alley is way up the hill, somewhere you can’t really park and some of those driveways can only fit one car. I’ve highlighted the curb cuts and alleys around 6th Street for a better visualization.

Curbcuts

If you implemented this system over the whole of Mankato, maybe we could free up a few parking spots in residential neighborhoods? As far as 6th Street is concerned, you could definitely add a few spots allowing residents to park in front of driveways.

Moreover, with a system like this, homeowners could actually sell their curb cut space on event nights. A market system that allows for parking, reduces congestion, and makes money all at the same time.

Simple, flexible legislation that’s creative in nature is how you solve problems. Not a bunch of committees and meetings.

 

 

Cover photo courtesy of Alex on Flickr

About Matthias Leyrer

Matthias Leyrer is a resident of Mankato looking to restore a fraction of its old glory. He writes about the economic, aesthetic, practical and financial issues facing the city of Mankato going forward.