Parking Is Sexy Now. Thank Donald Shoup.

In an interview, the guru of progressive parking policy reflects on his decades of research and writing, which transformed how cities look at the curb.

What’s the most emotional topic in transportation? According to Donald Shoup, it’s parking.

“Thinking about parking seems to take place in the reptilian cortex, the most primitive part of the brain responsible for making snap judgments about flight-or-flight issues, such as how to avoid being eaten,” Shoup writes in the introduction to his new book, Parking and the City (Planner’s Press, Routledge, 2018). “The reptilian cortex is said to govern instinctive behavior involved in aggression, territoriality, and ritual display—all important issues in parking.” Those screaming matches outside Trader Joe’s and tire-slashing episodes in Boston’s winter curb wars make slightly more sense in that frame: The threat of extra walking may be developed society’s most common, adrenaline-triggering equivalent to a charging fanged animal.

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