As you know, my baseline on this is that a parked car takes up space—which is to say land—and land isn’t free. It’s especially not free in the Westide of Los Angeles (which contrary to reputation is pretty densely populated) and especially especially not free “in such high-volume parking districts as Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle, downtown’s Fashion District and Westwood.” But the key thing is that these aren’t so much “high-volume parking districts” as they are places where land is expensive and also people want to park. A disabled parking permit affords one privileged access to certain parcels of land. Oftentimes—as, in, say Maine—this is a low-value courtesy to hand out, but in a place like southern California it’s quite valuable. And since it’s valuable, people want to sell it or lease it to others who might value it.
The problem with the article is that it posits market-priced parking as part of the problem when really it’s the essence of the solution:
Under California law, as in most states, cars displaying a disabled placard may park for free for an unlimited time at metered spaces. The placard holder does not have to own or drive the vehicle, but if a relative or friend is using the placard to secure free, unlimited parking, then the placard holder must accompany that person or be within “reasonable proximity.”
The law was intended to make it more convenient for individuals with missing or paralyzed extremities, impaired vision or heart, circulatory or lung disease to park conveniently and for as long as necessary to visit doctors or run errands. A disabled placard may be prescribed by, among others, a medical doctor, a nurse practitioner, a certified nurse midwife, a physician’s assistant, a chiropractor or an optometrist.
Precisely the point of demand-responsive parking is that anyone should be able to park conveniently for any duration of time. Instead of rationing parking via time limits, you simply charge a market-clearing price for the space. That means it may be very expensive to park for a long time in certain locations, but it’s always possible to do so. This system, if properly implemented, changes the question of parking “for individuals with missing or paralyzed extremities, impaired vision or heart, circulatory or lung disease” from one of making exceptions to the rationing regime into one of redistributing economic resources appropriately. What’s needed isn’t special parking placards for people with a note from a health care professional (apparently 10 percent of California’s population has one) but redistribution of income to poor people.
(And, yes, this is my anser to most problems—market prices + redistribute income to poor people = win)