Economics

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
economics, free parking



Is Free Parking Costing Us Billions?

from the it-takes-733-pages-to-discuss? dept

Always interesting economist Tyler Cowen has a story in the NY Times discussing the "cost" of free parking. It's based on the book The High Cost of Free Parking, which spent an astounding 733 pages to delve into the subject. The book suggests that "free parking" cost people in the US at least $127 billion in 2002. I haven't read the book -- and at that page length I'm sure there's a detailed discussion on nearly every challenge -- but I do wonder if it takes into account the benefits to local businesses of free parking. The easier it is to park, the more likely people are to go to those businesses. I'm guessing that the response is that if this does make sense, it should be a per-business decision, rather than a government-mandated one, which is the main complaint. This isn't a subject I've thought much about, frankly, but I found Cowen's discussion of it interesting, and thought people around here might have some... enlightening comments on the subject.

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  1. icon
    nasch (profile), 17 Aug 2010 @ 9:45am

    Re:

    While one local business might lose money to competitors if parking is slightly harder or more expensive, in the entire city there is no change in the competitive landscape.

    That's not true. If parking is bad in the entire city, or in all the places I would otherwise like to go, I can just shop online. Then the only local business that gets anything is the delivery company, and they're not really local anyway.

    Why not allow businesses to compete based on how much parking they provide?

    Agreed, mandating that businesses provide parking (or even worse, free parking) is stupid. Let the market deal with it. Parking on public streets is a public policy matter, otherwise the government should stay out of it.

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