Nobody Wins With Underpriced Parking

I have many transportation-related schemes that involve robbing drivers of unjustly earned subsidies. But my scheme for more demand-responsive on street parking fees (i.e., more expensive meters) is really something drivers should embrace. Price controls are not a favor to buyers or sellers, they’re a favor to people who put an extremely low value on their own time and have no problem waiting on endless lines.

Stephen Smith writes about reform in New York:

New York City has some of the most underpriced parking in the nation, and while there have been a few pilot programs (in the UES, the West Village, and Park Slope) to raise rates during peak hours, it looks like Bloomberg is finally pushing to implement Park Smart citywide. Residential metered hourly rates throughout the city will be bumped up to $1 (they were 50¢ just six months ago) and commercial rates will rise to $3 (they were $2 six months ago). Beyond this, peak on-street parking in the busiest commercial zones will cost even more.

The Post loads its article with driver outrage (headline: “Feed it and weep! Meter$ jacked up”; opening line: “Park your wallet right here, drivers.”), but at least towards the end they suggest a benefit of the program: “More than half of the business owners and drivers in the area said parking became easier once the more expensive pilot program went into effect.”

Right on. The point is that if you price on street parking appropriately, while it may be (more) expensive to park it should also be much more convenient to park. Which means that if a given space is expensive at a given time, that’ll be because some people put a really high value on having the right to occupy the space. Then on the back end this increases government revenue and reduces the need to rely on sales taxes or other regressive revenue measures.

Incidentally, someone should hire Stephen Smith.