With the day after Thanksgiving sales coming, and the parking lot rage and rumbles at Wal-Mart to follow, here's Charles Marohn, explaining that engineering standards for commercial zoning attempt to optimize parking for extreme conditions -- that Christmas rush -- rather than for something more like normal conditions.  And the rent-seeking that goes with it illustrates neatly the way rent-seeking can be packaged in high sounding rhetoric.
People who go on and on about the free market -- and I'm largely with them -- all of a sudden became flaming communists when it came to parking. We could not have enough, we could not charge for it and it was largely the government's role to provide it, or at least have pages of regulations to require it. The entire concept of a price mechanism was suspended when it came to parking.
Go read and understand all the ways in which parking becomes more expensive once the Wise Experts decree it should be free.

1 comment:

PaulS said...

Perhaps. But if I'm going to be gouged, or waste a half hour cruising for a spot everytime I make a trivial move in the downtown area, then I'll find someplace else to shop or engage in other activity. Or shop online, where merely popping into a store that in two minutes proves to be out of stock doesn't cost $10 in vigorish to be blown on municipal-government boondoggles for the mayor to boast of at "conferences".

Ditto on that transit stop except maybe in Manhattan or the Chicago Loop (but shopping and restaurants in those places are so outrageously expensive that who cares?) Who has time to wait for the uselessly slow, tardy, erratic, unreliable (and socialized and managed with the ultimate in shiftless incompetence) buses that are the norm in most places? Who has time to keep coming back and coming back for the minuscule drips and drabs that can be carried by hand on a bus or train?

Of course, yuppie types (yeah, that moniker is dated but it fits precisely) - hipsters who had the dumb luck to be made out of money - may well think otherwise. All the more so if overpriced or absurdly time-consuming access excludes the riff-raff from their exclusive playground.