Free parking is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – not real, but we still love it


Free parking is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – not real, but we still love it

So I know John Van Horn goes nuts every time someone says “free parking” because there is no such thing. I get it. But as somebody who parks like a regular person, the idea of “free parking,” whether it’s real or imagined, is even better than free – it’s like your favorite team winning a big game; it’s like watching people face plant in the mud on Wipeout; it’s like winning a very small lottery. And free holiday parking – even better.

I guess the City of Grand Rapids isn’t so sure it wants to offer free holiday parking in the future, but they should think of it this way: most people have nothing to say about their cities’ operations beyond complaints. “The trees on the easement have destroyed my septic tank and now my front yard is a big toilet.” “The pot holes are halfway to China.” “Our schools are churning out criminals.” “Our police eat donuts all day.” and so on. So before you take away the one perk everyone (except JVH) agrees is a beautiful thing, understand that you might be taking away the only thing we like about you.

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. Paul — You decided to start by poking the dog with a stick. No loss of nerve here. Free parking is fine as long as you deal with the consequences. Grand Rapids has a unique way of handling it. They provide coupons and then the parker must redeem the coupon. Its not the same as finding money on the meter or a bag over it saying “free parking today.”

    Actually I agree that parking could be a positive stroke from the city, as long as we remember that when something is ‘free’ someone pays for it.

    I’ll buy lunch next week.


  2. Sounds like Mr. Smith’s neighborhood could use a parking benefit district. Maybe if residents had say over the revenues from parking, the city would have the funds to repair “[t]he pot holes [that] are halfway to China.”

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