At 50 cents per hour, street parking near Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business was very tough to find. But, today, at $2 per hour, many spaces, particularly in Schenley Park, are unused.
Two faculty members at CMU’s Tepper School of Business are working with the City of Pittsburgh to optimize the street parking in the area by instituting a rate schedule that fluctuates each month based on usage. Initially, the hourly rate will drop from $2 to $1 on Margaret Morrison and portions of Schenley Drive adjacent to Carnegie Mellon. The rate will remain unchanged on Frew Street.
Mark Fichman, an associate professor of organizational behavior and theory, and Stephen Spear, a professor of economics, said they will use economic principles to research the “ideal” rate, which will balance commuter usage with parking revenues.
“Ideally, slightly more than three quarters of available parking spaces should be utilized during normal business periods,” Fichman said. “The marketplace will help us determine the proper parking meter rate. A few years ago, when parking rates were 50 cents per hour, it was difficult to find an open parking space around campus. When parking rates rose to their recent high of $2 per hour, many commuters quit using the street parking all together. The ideal rate is somewhere in between these numbers.”
The researchers will monitor parking usage during normal business periods and will determine, on a month-to-month basis, whether street parking rates should be raised or lowered in order to achieve optimal usage.
“Several of these streets are immediately adjacent to the business school, so we routinely get a first-hand account of the parking situation from our colleagues and coworkers,” Spear said. “We believe that maintaining optimal usage is a win for both commuters and the city.” The research will continue for one year. Any comments and suggestions on this project can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.