Walkable West Palm Beach

Shop small on Saturday, participate in #BlackFridayParking on Friday

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This Saturday is Small Business Saturday. I encourage readers to support local business not only Saturday but all year long.

Downtown parking is abundant, easy, and cheap. Let’s say that again. In fact, the City has made our parking free for these few days of holiday shopping — that must be an indication that the supply of parking is so great that the market price has been driven to effectively zero, right? Otherwise, free parking would create a shortage of spaces and inadequate turnover of spaces in high-demand streets, actually harming business. One can only hope the City Parking Administration is applying the principles contained in Donald Shoup’s seminal work,  “High Cost of Free Parking“. Shoup was recently interviewed on the Strong Towns podcast.

If you’re looking for something more constructive to do on Black Friday than the typical big box consumerism binge, join us for Black Friday Parking. It’s a nationwide effort to call attention to the destructive nature of minimum parking requirements. These requirements hurt small businesses by raising the barrier to entry. They favor the large big box model, hurting our municipal finances, and spreading out our land use pattern to further subsidize driving at the expense of other modes. Here is a visual depiction of these effects, courtesy of Joshua McCarty of Urban3. In the map below, higher bars indicate higher property tax value per acre. Blue color indicates a higher coverage of building versus parking area, while red indicates a higher ratio of parking versus building.

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Image courtesy of Urban3

Participate on Friday by posting photos of big box parking lots with hashtag: #BlackFridayParking

Read more about the event on Strong Towns.

[PS – If you’re interested in the study Urban3 did for West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County, see video below]

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