This Horse isn’t Dead

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This Horse isn’t Dead

You might think I am still slugging this poor animal, but I can’t resist it when news reports continue to prove Don Shoup and his "High Cost of Free Parking" right on a daily basis.

Pittsburgh, for instance, is planning residential parking permits for a particular area on its south side. Read about it here.

This is a classic example of the Shoupistas cause. There isn’t enough parking on the street because employees and perhaps visitors to a nearby hospital are taking them up. So the city’s solution is to restrict parking there to only residents, for $20 a pop per month (pretty cheap, dontcha think). All the excess money to go into the city coffers, no doubt.

What would have happened if the price of parking on the street was set by the marketplace. Meters were installed and what, $5 or $10 a day charged. Suddenly the hospital would have to take care of its own parking. With that kind of charge on the streets, the hospital could build a garage and charge a bit less and fill it, and make money on the deal. Or they could simply let nature take its course, and some people would simply take the bus or carpool, rather than pay what it costs to drive.

The residents would do the same. Who knows, perhaps instead of owning a bunch of cars and driving everywhere, the locals would stay in the neighborhood and "shudder" walk to local businesses that would begin to thrive. The money collected would redo the streetscapes and increase security and lighting.

Maybe even a entrepreneur or two would figure out a way to park cars somewhere else for a lesser amount.

And everyone would benefit, including our industry.

Now what about Edinburgh. Read about their "solution" here. By the way, don’t be put off by the term "scheme." In the UK it doesn’t have the derogatory inflection it does on this side of the pond. But maybe it should in this case.

The residents are up in arms over a plan to charge a lot for parking. Their main complaint (go Shoupistas, go) is that the money will be going to Rapid Transit, and then, most likely to the City’s General Fund.

Now, what if the city said that the money would go to local improvements — new streets, trees, parks, lighting, and the like. My guess is that the objections would die away.

Of course what would rapid transit do? Well, perhaps they would have to charge what it costs to ride the train. Their ridership would be up, of course, because folks who parked before in free parking would rethink their auto use and most likely use the trains more. Why should people who aren’t using the trains pay for those that do? Similarly, why should people who don’t drive, pay for the parking for those who do? Why should people who pay to park, have their money go to support government bureaucrats downtown, rather than back into their communities?

The "scheme" in Scotland is nothing more than a money grab, taking from one group and giving it to another. No wonder people are up in arms. Folks are happy to pay for their neighborhoods, but get the backs up when they pay for some else’s.

The Free Market Rules!!!

JVH

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John Van Horn

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