Socialized Parking


Socialized Parking

That’s "socialized" as in "socialist," not "social". 

I received a copy of a letter to the Editor from the Frederick (MD) News Post. It comments on the "100 years ago" column that notes that local developers in 1907 were to provide off street parking for their facilities and also places for "off loading."  The writer has been trying to find if that policy had been revoked.

Money Quote:  "I’m now wondering if the local city fathers changed this 100 year old ordinance before they started us down the road of socialized parking. I challenge any city official past or present to explain to us taxpayers why we are forced to provide parking when a 100 year old ordinance clearly states that it is up to the property owners to do so.’"

Heh — Socialized parking huh. Although many public parking projects begin as self funding, I’m not sure they end up that way. My guess is that the writer is a closet Shoupista, he just doesn’t know it. If the city were required to charge what it would take to cover the cost of parking garages, the entire "look" of downtowns might change, and for the better. Private firms would build garages if they were needed, and be able to charge what it takes to do so.

Today, much parking in downtown areas are built by the city because they are in competition with private developers. They they set the parking rates very low and private operators have difficulty competing.  The garages don’t "pencil out" for the private groups, so they leave parking up to the public sector. 

If the government would simply keep its hands off parking (off street) and set the on street rates higher than off street rates, all would be right with the world.

Go Frederick Maryland. 


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John Van Horn

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