Do We Live in a Vacuum?

Does parking enforcement live in a vacuum? Are we so insulated from the world that we simply ignore the facts of financial life that our customers must face on a daily basis. Here is a story about daily fees for “bagging” parking meters. I could make a few cracks about San Francisco, but this policy is endemic throughout the land.


When someone applies to get a “permit” to use a parking space for an entire day or month or year, the city expects to be compensated for the lost revenue. In San Francisco it’s $4 a day about to be raised to $5 a day. The amount lost has been computed at $4.82 per day because that’s the amount of money collected each day divided by the number of meters in the city. Hey, in Oakland it’s computed at $19.79, which of course is absurd.


The money quote:

But the combination of broken meters, the proliferation of disabled placards, motorists who don’t plug the meter and are willing to risk a ticket, and the number of hours that spaces go unoccupied keeps the daily take at parking meters on the low side.

I just wonder why we should charge anything. I think it may have to do with the reason for the request, but if the company making the request is generating tax dollars, creating jobs, making the city better, then I suggest that the fee should simply cover the cost of placing and removing the bag. Period.


If someone is building an apartment building and needs access for a year to five spaces that would be a charge of $6500 (SF collected over $300,000 in these charges last year.) Isn’t it time we supported our economy and gave our businesses a break? It’s not like we are attempting to keep the spaces open for people to park or lower cruising rates and make the downtown a better place – we are simply charging so we can get the money. Overall its bad policy.

And don’t come back at me that the building will simply build in the cost. All the money comes from the same place, the people who live in the apartments. Let’s do our bit to keep costs down.


Anything we can do to make lives easier for our businesses, the better.


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2 Responses to Do We Live in a Vacuum?

  1. Reality Check says:

    Parking exists for the general public use. We charge for parking to create turnover (if you don’t believe this makes a difference, try parking on a city holiday when everything else is open). In our city, all parking fees and fines go to the Department of Transportation to fill potholes, light the streetlights, install crosswalks, etc.
    When someone asks to reserve a space – and this includes city departments – we charge a fee per space per day. Some of this recovers lost revenue, administrative costs and such, but some of it is designed to encourage the user to return the space to general public use as soon as possible.
    The entire philosphy is to maintain as much public parking as possible. User pays, right?

  2. Your money quote: “Anything we can do to make lives easier for our businesses, the better.” How is allowing prime parking spaces to be reserved and used by a single entity for little or no fee helping any business but the one with the reserved parking spaces? What about the already existing and established businesses next door that need those spaces for their customers?
    We charge twice the take “take” for commercial use of our parking spaces – not because I want the revenue, but because I want them to think twice about whether or not they really need the spaces. At $15 per space per day, do they really need 10 spaces for 3 weeks or can they get away with 5 spaces for 2 weeks? At $3 per day, they will take as many as they can get for a long as they can have them because it’s the cheapest alternative, including off-street options.

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