On-Street Parking: The Bellwether of a City’s Economic Activity and Vitality.
I have suspected for some time that there will be a ‘one thing’ that is the parameter that will show the health and economic vitality of a city and it will have something to do with parking. I was right.
On-street parking, when monitored well (as a lot of cities still don’t do the monitoring bit well enough yet but is improving), can be the bellwether of a city’s economic activity and vitality. A bold statement when there are so many other possible bellwethers out there and so many more that are more fashionable to monitor, such as inflation, building consents, GDP and others. But none will give you the activity signal immediacy like on-street parking.
There are some rules that have to be in place first of course, you have to be able to monitor the parking meters occupancies or transactions in real time and it doesn’t even matter if you are still using abstract pricing.
On-street parking gives us the one signal to indicate how large, small or size of change that is occurring in the city and you can see it everyday in your parking stats. I set up a group of reports from my ITSL metro parking machines to deliver data each morning that I can then compare to a standard norm for parking activity. I have had to spend a number of hours and my teams hours getting the right data as the reports from the machines are limited in scope, but we finally are able to monitor the change in activity everyday.
Think about it. On-street parking is the recipient of every change that happens within a city. If a construction site opens up, the car parks and the street are full of contractors and other related activities, so my reports show me that a change is happening and I go and look to see that a building is going up. If a building is being demolished (likely in
right now), then a private car park opens up and drains the street with cheaper pricing. My reports pick up a lack of activity in the street and I go and look to find the new off-street car park open and thriving with cars that were parking on-street. Christchurch
On-street parking is like the collection of arteries and veins of the body. They flow around the city picking up any changes to activity or vitality of the city. Get your stethoscope out, make sure it can monitor what you want it to monitor and listen to the changes.