Is the Chicago Parking Meter Rate Increase a Good Thing?

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Chicago’s recent parking meter rise makes them the highest in the nation.  There have been thousands of complaint tweets on twitter.  There’s been moans and groans, and I’ve been guilty of both!  It sucks to have to pay more for parking.  It’s more than annoying, and with the deal the city received it can be viewed as plain evil.  The rates have risen.  There’s no changing them.  There’s only park or don’t park.  However, there are some benefits to the rate increases.

I remember a day when the street parking rates were kept artificially low.  It’s politically incorrect to raise parking rates, but perfectly normal for a corporation as has been done since they were privatized.  It was near impossible to find a parking space in the loop.  Almost non-existent.  Now, the street parking rates are more in line with the demand, as they are matching the cost and in some cases even more expensive than parking in a parking garage.  Yes, that’s right, some parking garages actually have a lower hourly rate than street parking!  I digress.

  1. Now, it’s easier to find a parking space, and there is more turnover since the high cost of parking forces people to not keep their car too long in one place.
  2. Now, less people will waste time, money and gas circling the block over and over looking for a parking space.
  3. Traffic congestion will be reduced.

Many suburbanites come to Chicago with the idea free parking is a right.  A parking spot whether public or private has an initial cost to build it and there’s an ongoing cost to maintain the space.  Who pays for it?  Well you do, just indirectly.  The mall you shop in, or the city you pay taxes in passes this cost to everybody.  When there are charges for parking the costs are passed only to those who actually use the space.  Does this sound so ludicrous and unfair?