One of the many, many headaches inherent in any large metropolis is parking. Simply put, there isn't enough of it and if there is, it's a nine-mile walk from your actual destination. Ignoring the lack of spots and convenience, though, there's a greater issue that makes big-city parking a big pain – it's expensive.

That has a number of citizens' groups up in arms, arguing that the city exploits the parking situation to replenish the coffers. For some, such as a group in Los Angeles called the Los Angeles Parking Freedom Initiative, that issue means pushing for a reduction in costs and fines. For other groups, it means a whole-sale elimination of parking fees and fines.

The Week has an excellent write-up of a surprisingly interesting topic, analyzing whether parking is a civil right (it isn't) and why we simply don't have free parking. It's worth a read, so head over and take a look.


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  • 107 Comments
      ebauer427
      • 5 Months Ago
      no, it's not a right. but paid parking is a nuisance and if you want me to come downtown and shop in your retail district, forcing me to pay for parking isn't making it a very attractive proposition. with states considering mileage taxes and cities charging for every parking space, more and more retail consumption is going to go online. and that's a pity for downtown shopping districts and small business owners alike.
      cpmanx
      • 5 Months Ago
      The obvious answer is "no." The answer in the source article is "no." The only point of this story, and this headline, is to get people stirred up...which it is doing quite effectively, including in some rather unattractive ways. Oh Internet, will you ever change?
      Scr
      • 5 Months Ago
      Not always free, but reasonable. I don't go downtown where I live anymore because it costs so much to park. Same thing with the closest city. Unless people are here from out of town, I don't go up there. It costs too damned much to park. When it is cheaper to park at the airport all day than it is in the city for 4 hours, something is drastically wrong...and it hurts businesses. The whole parking deal with big box centers and malls is that the merchant and developer pay for the free parking as a draw to have you shop at their stores. A few smart downtowns have figured this out as well, using property or sales tax revenue to subsidize the garages so the customer or even the employee parks for free. In areas with crappy public transit, which, lets face it, is most places...it works VERY WELL.
      Cool Disco Dan
      • 5 Months Ago
      Less SUVs and more small 2 wheelers would help a lot.
      ferps
      • 5 Months Ago
      Stop regulating how many parking spaces a private business needs to provide, and charge the going market rate for street spaces, as the experimental project in San Francisco has done.
        johnbravo6
        • 5 Months Ago
        @ferps
        Specifically the handicapped people. If there's such a demand for them to be 14 steps closer to an arbitrary point on the business, the owner can choose to provide for it.
        BB91103
        • 5 Months Ago
        @ferps
        What about handicapped people?
      Larry Litmanen
      • 5 Months Ago
      I am as anti tax as they come and if you want to argue that gov should not tax and use the money for union payoffs i agree with you. But here's why i am OK with the tax, tax discourages those who make less money from buying cars or parking where i want to be. Simple example, went to the beach last weekend, could not find a spot few blocks from the beach, paid $20 to park 30 seconds away from the beach. I am willing to pay to live a tad more comfortably.
        Tom C
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        While I completely agree that metered parking is a good way of reducing congestion, it's worth pointing out also that you are a terrible human being.
        Jarda
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        "tax discourages those who make less money from buying cars or parking where i want to be" yet another proof that government is there NOT for the people
        jtav2002
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        So basically you have more rights because you make more? HA. So you should get to park closer than a "poor person." However, If I make more than you and cant find a spot, I assume you will be more than willing to move your vehicle for me, because in my eyes, you're poor and don't deserve that spot.
          Larry Litmanen
          • 5 Months Ago
          @jtav2002
          I don't get your point, did i come up with the system? The government has the lot right by the beach, i simply chose to pay while others parked few blocks away for free. Don't blame me, i am just a messenger.
          clquake
          • 5 Months Ago
          @jtav2002
          That's not poor vs rich. That's frugal vs an idiot who thinks they're more important because they're willing to pay. One of my bosses makes high eight figures, nine with bonus. Drives around Boston's South End in his Camry until he finds a free open space, usually 15 minutes away.
        BB91103
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        Yes and it is even more satisfying when you use your mommy & daddy's money to go to the beach. Look at your pictures you defenitely need money to pick up chicks.
      Car Guy
      • 5 Months Ago
      In conservative America, yes. In tax-and-regulate-you-to-death liberal America, not so much.
        Tom C
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        If putting a quarter in a parking meter means liberal America is taxing you to death, you have serious money and/or mommy issues.
          Larry Litmanen
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Tom C
          Right because taking 50% of your paycheck is perfectly OK with you. How is your mommy today? What's her name, Moooooooccchheellleeee?
          Dmitriy Markelov
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Tom C
          I think everyone is well aware but many men named Larry are quite dim.
          clquake
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Tom C
          Really, who is going to take you precious guns away? The President? The police? No, they're too busy, they have sh!t to do. No one is taking away your guns. And people marrying animals? When was the last time you WANTED to go to a wedding? I would pay money to see someone marry a turtle. That is a wedding I would willingly attend.
        citidriver
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        In conservative America, everything is privatized so one can make profit from it.
        Bernard
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        In conservative corporatist America, one monopoly owns all of the parking spaces in the country and they'll charge you a dollar a minute for the privilege of parking there. They also own the towing company and reserve the right to sell your vehicle if you can't pay the $5,000 towing fee.
        Making11s
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        You realize, of course, this would actually be solved with regulation. Requiring all new construction to X number of parking spaces per unit or X spaces relative to maximum occupancy would be a great start. Then, of course, it would be through imminent domain that governments would acquire property for new public parking structures to help compensate for the old construction with its lack of parking. It would also be regulation that would keep building owners from turning around and gouging for parking. Heck, in conservative America, parking is privatized, set up for both the end user and government overpay, prices go up every year by well over 10% and is run by a company that just so happened to be a key city councilman's college roommate and biggest campaign contributor.
        BB91103
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        Because in liberal America we understand we need to pay for $hit like police, fire dept, roads, schools, teachers, hospitals, and airports etc. Conservatives just need..... Guns instead of more police. Guns instead of the fire dept (they can just shoot people and take other people's house if they lost theirs). Guns instead of fire dept so you can shoot the person who started the fire. Unless they are burning down a 'gubment building then that's okay. Guns instead of schools. Why do all that learnin when you can stick up the guy who invented stuff and just take it from them. Guns instead of teachers. Who needs all that lernin' when you have a gun. Guns instead of hospitals. If you break your leg shoot it off. Be a man. Guns instead of airports. Who needs them. The only time they will travel is when they go see that Mexican guy name Jesus in the sky.
          clquake
          • 5 Months Ago
          @BB91103
          john, there are so many things wrong with your posts, that it's satisfying knowing that somewhere, out there, there is a rock that has just realized that its IQ is higher than yours, and is now laughing at your posts.
          johnbravo6
          • 5 Months Ago
          @BB91103
          Pay=Voluntary exchange of money. Tax=Money exchanged by threat of force. Theft=Money exchanged by threat of force.
          superchan7
          • 5 Months Ago
          @BB91103
          @johnbravo6 Taxes keep your government running. You don't want no gub'mint? Time to move.
          johnbravo6
          • 5 Months Ago
          @BB91103
          So... What's your argument? Taxes are involuntary. It doesn't sound like you dispute that. And then it sounds like you support it.
          superchan7
          • 5 Months Ago
          @BB91103
          School is also involuntary. Are you against school? Restrictions on certain activities is also involuntary. Should I be allowed to kick you down low for no reason? Free will says I should be able to. Law says I can't, at least not without punishment. If I don't like it, I can move to an uninhabited island and do my own hunting-gathering.
      R Ellis Novak
      • 5 Months Ago
      Parking should always be free on public streets. Meters are a form of double jeopardy for the taxpayer who's already shelled out for the street. Parking on private property should obviously be up to the owner of that property.
      • 5 Months Ago
      If your city is sidelining efforts to make public transport truly viable while jacking up fines and testing the waters with crap like "congestion tax" it's time to vote the bums out.
      gasaraki88
      • 5 Months Ago
      Americans think everything is a right. Driving is not a right, so parking is not a right.
        Larry Litmanen
        • 5 Months Ago
        @gasaraki88
        Well the government taxes you to build roads.............so it is a right.
          warren
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          Larry, just because a tiny, tiny portion of your tax dollars went towards road-building, doesn't entitle you to drive a motorized vehicle on them. You get the right of throughfare, that's it.
          Car Guy
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          @WARREN - Tiny? Really? Between gas taxes, car registration taxes, and toll roads I'm paying nearly $1000/year.
          Tom C
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          Car Guy, if all the externalized costs of vehicle ownership were actually paid by the owner, you would be paying a heck of a lot more than $1000 a year.
          superchan7
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          The government taxes you to build roads, so that a bus, taxi or ambulance may carry you to where you need to go, or so you may use a sidewalk or cross a street. Can you get from home to work--err, community college--without touching land owned by your city? Be sure to let the gub'mint know when you build your own roads and hospitals, so they can waive a few bucks off your taxes.
          Jarda
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          @warren you should be more open about this way of thinking of yours, you should run a campaign based on that, i bet you would easily win everything
      RobG
      • 5 Months Ago
      Paid Parking exists for ONE reason -- REVENUE. Just like "speeding" tickets and most other traffic enforcement.
        ctsmith1066
        • 5 Months Ago
        @RobG
        The bigger issue relates to the tragedy of the commons.
        BB91103
        • 5 Months Ago
        @RobG
        So when they pull some idiot over for doing 90mph while weaving through traffic it is purely for revenue?
      FuelToTheFire
      • 5 Months Ago
      We are turning into a nation of entitlements. Whatever happened to the gold old days where people worked hard and provided for themselves instead of having the government spoon feed them?
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