No Free Parking

The idea behind Congestion Pricing is to charge people more to use things — city streets, toll roads, cellphones — during peak times. By raising the cost you reduce demand, freeing up more space. And if demand stays constant you earn higher revenue and then raise the price some more. Such programs are in place in metropolises all over the world, notably London, where entering the central district during business hours requires a surcharge.

One of the benefits of these dynamic pricing models is getting people to drive their cars less. This is prima faciea good thing. Automobiles cause death and injury; automobiles are one of the leading sources of environmental degradation; automobiles are expensive and inefficient. The less we drive them the better. Providing competitive public transportation is one incentive. Employing a kind of 24-hour Congestion Pricing to parking would be another.

The concept is simple: No free parking on any city streets. None. Never.

Any time someone chooses to move his car off of private property and onto public byways, he should expect to pay if he wishes to use public land to park his earth-destroyer. One’s own driveway or a private lot would be exempt, of course. But instead of employing an illogical (and at time infuriating) strategy of making some city spots costly and others free, and at wildly varying hours, we would do well to have a blanket policy: Parking your dangerous, environmentally destructive vehicle will cost $5 an hour, or $1.5 per 15 minutes.

Folks will holler about how costly it has become to go anywhere in the car. And that’s the point.

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3 Responses

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