by Michael Kodransky, ITDP
Mexico City has enacted on-street parking reform for the first time in years. In April this year, the City’s Polanco district, an upmarket residential neighborhood, completed implementation of a new parking management system, introducing 426 multispace meters to streets where parking had previously been free. The new system is branded ecoParq underscoring the environmental benefits of better parking pricing and management. The meters help regulated 6000 parking spaces and have brought dramatic changes to the neighborhood. Perhaps the greatest measure of success is that surrounding districts are requesting an expansion of the on-street payment and management zones.
With traffic congestion in Mexico City at a tipping point, the city realized the potential of implementing a robust parking management system. Until recently, on-street parking in Mexico City was either free or informally controlled by franeleros, unregulated valet attendants who often resort to extortion. The informal valets along with the lack of enforcement of parking space in general had promoted a chaotic parking and street environment – vehicles parking on sidewalks, corners and private driveways, among others. The proposal for ecoParq was set out in Plan Verde, Mexico City’s sustainable development plan written under Mayor Ebrard. Mayor-Elect Miguel Mancera promises to continue and extend these reforms.
ITDP advised the city from the onset on baseline data collection, contracting, branding and enforcement. The Public Space Authority administers the 30% of revenues earmarked for public space improvements. EcoParq is helping to bring more certainty to how public space is managed. Plans are underway to implement the program in many other neighborhoods incrementally.