Free parking hurts everybody: parkers, pedestrians, business owners and bikers. Studies in NYC have shown that 29% of downtown drivers are just looking for a place to park. In the process they consume gas, exhaust pollution and snarl traffic.
An innovative solution proposed by Don Shoup is to price on-street parking so that 15% of stalls are always available. 15% is the magic number that allows the most people to find an available parking stall on the same block as their destination. This means it will be easier for people to patronize a business. Proceeds from parking meters can then be used to improve the street scape buy adding street trees, bike parking, benches, burying overhead utility wires, and high-quality year-round street maintenance.