27.6.19

TREAT THE ROADS LIKE PRODUCTIVE ASSETS.

Apparently, America is so great that tire chalking, to identify that a car has been in a parking space too long, becomes an unreasonable search.  Is that bad news for cash-strapped public officials? "The decision, while undoubtedly bringing joy to parking scofflaws everywhere, could cost some cities money, either from lost revenue or having to install meters where none exist."

Strong Towns's Marshall Hines is amused.  "It’s hilarious to me that this has become an argument about unreasonable searches."

As I have previously asked, "Why should road socialism be different from any other socialism?"

The error of any sort of socialism is in pretending that something that has scarcity value, whether it's medical care, food, housing, or transportation, ought a priori to be free.  I've been toying with the idea that governments price services they offer as if they were in business, and Mr Hines is thinking along similar lines.  That Mercury-News gripe turns into a desirable outcome.
The city places parking meters at every single one of these 2-hour parking spots and probably charges a small fee for the first two hours you are there, and more thereafter. Likely everyone this lawsuit is “helping out” loses because now they have to pay for their first couple of hours. Not to mention, these same folks will likely still be getting tickets, because if you ignored the 2-hour limit previously, you’re probably going to ignore the expiration on your meter.
The Popular Perspective is that parking enforcement is just a cheesy dodge to raise money.  That was a common gripe among Northern Illinois's students, and it probably still is.  Raising revenue, however, is the businesslike thing to do.
Now, if you are like me, that alternative the city is likely to end up with actually sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

A good or service is provided—in this case, a spot in which you can store your 4,000 pound vehicle for a specific period of time—and in return, you pay for it. Seems like capitalism and fairness at work.

I am sure Mr. Gronda would concede that this alternative does resolve the delicate issue of searching your vehicle… with chalk. But sometimes I wonder if we are missing the forest for the trees. Should we even provide free parking? A city has to maintain that street where you park, and the street, other than charging for parking along it, generates no revenue. If the cost of repairing the streets is passed on indiscriminately to the population of a city, then the burden for its repairs does not reflect the people who create the need for most of that repair: the people who utilize the road.

Charging for parking is about as close as you can get to directly assessing a fee to the people who receive benefits from parking on a street.

So I will continue my defense of the parking and meter maids. They are our last line of defense against the scofflaws who use our public infrastructure but are unwilling to pay their fair share of its maintenance.
There is no such thing as free parking, the use of a parking space is exclusive and rivalrous, and it would be salutary for political economy to get people thinking that paying for a parking space ought be no different from paying for a hamburger or a seat at a concert.

There is no such thing as a freeway, either.  The extension to treating those roads as productive assets ought to be straightforward.

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