Is Joliet driving away revenue from its downtown?

Here’s the deal – the City of Joliet raised its parking rates, ostensibly to help its budget. Well the hike, from 25 cents an hour to $1 an hour raised about half was it was assumed it would. The parking gurus in Joliet forgot how supply and demand connected with a free market works.

People changed their habits. Instead of parking on street, they moved to nearby structures that maintained the earlier rates. Many drivers liked the new rates because they were always able to find a place to park. Plus it was discovered that employees in the downtown area were parking in the structures and walking a block rather than pay a much higher rate to park on street. They had been parking on street and feeding the meters.

In other words, the Shoup model worked exactly as advertised. There was only one problem. They raised the rates too high. They should have “edged” the rate up until just one space or so was open on the street. They more than likely would have generated more money (since more people would have parked on street) and most likely made the residents a lot happier.

Oh, well – amateurs attempt to set parking rates based on increasing revenue to fill a budget gap and you see what happens.


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