A Conversation with Donald Shoup: Renowned Parking Expert Shares Insights with DIB

Posted: Oct 23, 2018 03:26 pm Updated: Oct 17, 2023 11:58 pm

In October 2018, renowned parking expert Donald Shoup was in Pensacola giving a talk as a guest speaker at CivicCon, discussing “how to get parking right." On the following day, the Downtown Improvement Board leveraged the opportunity to invite Shoup to meet with the DIB board and management to discuss downtown parking, specifically, and to seek his insights on the district's parking system and its challenges.

In his CiviCon presentation, Shoup explained his theory that parking can be vastly improved with three fundamental steps, as explained in his 2005 book, The High Cost of Free Parking. He recommended finding a more positive balance by:


1. Charging the right price for on-street parking – This means charging the lowest reasonable amount to ensure that there is always a small handful of available parking spaces

2. Spending the revenue from paid parking to benefit metered neighborhoods – By using the revenue from paid parking to directly benefit the areas from which it is generated, Shoup argues that the money goes into the meter, and subsequently comes back to benefit people in various ways

3. Removing off-street parking requirements – Finally, Shoup posits that the combination of removing off-street parking requirements and charging the "right" price for on-street parking, will cause parking to eventually self-regulate. Without off-street parking requirements, these off-street spaces can then be given alternative uses


In our continued pursuit of creating a great downtown parking experience, the DIB is taking expert opinions such as those of Donald Shoup into consideration, along with ideas and suggestions from the community, to bring about positive changes in the downtown parking experiences of visitors, residents and merchants.

About CiviCon
CiviCon is a series of public town halls and workshops with the nation's leading thinkers and experts who share their expertise on what it takes to build strong communities. The four-year project is hosted by the Pensacola News Journal in partnership with Studer Community Institute.

Click here to watch Donald Shoup’s full CivicCon talk.