Every community thinks they are unique until you sit through a session at City Hall waiting for your item to come up. Over and over again the refrain sounds the same. Too much traffic, parking is a problem, the building is too tall, where will they pick up the garbage, the loading dock will ruin the sidewalk, I admire the patience of councillors listening to the concerns.
Problems are opportunities. Hence I read with interest this story in the Globe and Mail about Honk. There you go, the Uber of parking, and since it’s a platform for the sharing economy it’s messing with old formulas turning city planning into a big question mark. The Toronto Parking Authority is being challenged because the app unlocks a huge inventory of parking that previously was unseen but worse, the app enables a new convenience, reserve a spot.
How much more likely are people to drive downtown if they knew there was a parking spot waiting for them? How much parking is actually available at any given time?
Cities are really having a tough time with these platforms but that does need to be the case. The first step is to realize that the structures and capabilities currently in place must stop. Then new regulations/licences re-issued and the playing field love set for all players. For cabbies, the city needs to buy back all the plates, then new regulations come in place along with Uber or Lyft being licensed as the dispatch system for all drivers under city rules. For parking, it means selling off the TPA, and licensing Honk (or one of its competitors) as the only parking authority across all lots.