Most cities suck at parking management. Usually they have plenty where nobody wants it and little where everyone does, which is why we spend hours circling a block to find some.

Newton is no exception.

Fortunately for us, there are new tools and better ideas about how to provide parking where it’s most in demand while also making more of it desirable.

One of the most interesting of these ideas is capitalism. Instead of tinkering endlessly with time restrictions and meter rates, let the market distribute high-demand spaces by charging more. Charge less for the out-of-the-way ones.

This has already been tried, successfully, in Pasadena,  Medford, Salem & beyond. Examples are at the League of Women Voters, Newton, web page on transportation. A decent video explanation is here.

The result of better management is less traffic, more walking, and busier retail areas.

The Transportation Advisory Group , which I chair, has been working with aldermen and citizens to draft an  overarching vision of parking management for the city. The state of that document will be aired for the first time in public before the Zoning & Planning subcommittee by its main author, Director of Planning Candace Havens.

It should be a good show.

Other items that preoccupy the Aldermen this week: financial policies, protecting whistleblowers, sidewalk cafe furniture permitting, trees, sidewalks, snow, and the Angier project. Plenty to talk about.

Which meeting will you attend?

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