After living in the suburbs for most of my life and parking in a driveway, the only parking problem I had was moving another one of the family cars, so I could make a fast getaway. Parking on the street was free for anyone who stopped by to visit or to party to celebrate an auspicious occasion – graduation, birthday, winning the lottery.
When I moved to the city to a condo with more residents than parking spaces, I became the moving nomad in my car, on the prowl for a space, and praying that one of the ninety year old residents who had seniority – and a space – would die soon to open up a place for the next on the list (I was not at the top). The parking shuffle well-known to residents of most big cities usually precludes staying in one spot. Street sweepers have priority on surprise days, meters expire in the middle of the night, and city ordinances limit unlimited luxury hours.
Michael Cooper and Jo Craven McGinty report on – A Meter So Expensive, It Creates Parking Spots – in their article for the New York Times. San Francisco is experimenting with a new program
“which uses new technology and the law of supply and demand, raises the price of parking on the city’s most crowded blocks and lowers it on its emptiest blocks. While the new prices are still being phased in — the most expensive spots have risen to $4.50 an hour, but could reach $6.”
As expected, their effort is getting mixed reviews. In my neighborhood, the city is considering changing the meters from fifty-cents an hour to a dollar an hour – seems cheap by comparison, but nobody wants to pay for what they could have had for free…
Cooper and McGinty note that Donald Shoup’s book – The High Cost of Free Parking – includes a quote from “Seinfeld’s” George Costanza character: “My father didn’t pay for parking, my mother, my brother, nobody. It’s like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay when, if I apply myself, maybe I can get it for free?”
Do you pay for parking?