Charge Me to Park in Front of My House

Why not? The folks over on our Facebook Page are talking about this concept and seem to be in favor. They are talking about urging folks to clean out their garages and park their cars there. I’m all for that, but I have other reasons.

First – let’s get the cars off the streets. It’s simple. The rule could be that you could park for two hours (or four) and then you had to pay. A classic first two hour free rate. Most short term visitors would be able to park in the neighborhood without paying, residents would have to use their garages. This would take the vast majority of cars off the street.

Second – People need to be thinking that parking space costs money. This program would get drivers understanding that parking has value. It is not the responsibility of the taxpayers to provide parking space for people who elect to own and drive cars. Parking is another expense in driving – fuel, insurance, oil, tires, maintenance, and parking.

Third – Security. The process of enforcement would have more people in uniforms and marked cars driving around the neighborhood. They could call the cops if a problem was spotted. What’s wrong with having an extra pair of eyes on the lookout for creepy guys walking around (ignore the two geezers with the sheltie and two Chihuahuas, they live here.)

Fourth – Revenue. The money from the permits and fines could be used to keep the street lights lit, the sidewalks and streets in good repair, the trees in the parkway trimmed. Gee who wouldn’t want to charge for parking if the money actually went right back in to filling those potholes and cleaning up the weeds that are peeking out through the crumbling curbs.

Fifth – it’s just good public policy. We are managing an asset and keeping the public trust.

How it might work: Residents could purchase one time permits, say in groups of 10. How about $5 each. You could order them on line, or at the local fire station or even at the 711 or Bodega on the corner. When someone comes and they are going to stay more than a couple of hours, you put today’s date on the permit and they put it on their dash. It is only good for that day. If a resident elected to park their car on the street, they could purchase a permit for full time use. Maybe $75 a month – or whatever. We got $75 a month from half of the 300 cars that park on the street overnight in my neighborhood, (about six square blocks) that would net out $135K a year (not counting the daily permits) – spread that out over an entire city and guess what money it would bring. And that doesn’t even count citation revenue.

Enforcement would drive around and check the permits. Citations would be issued as appropriate. Simple, elegant, no worries. All money is collected on line or when permits are purchased. No issue with machines, maintenance, collecting coins, etc.

The money would go to administer the program and what was left over would be used for services in the neighborhood.

OK, you libertarians, come at me.


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3 Responses to Charge Me to Park in Front of My House

  1. John Feeney says:

    This obviously comes from someone that does NOT live in a large metropolitan City like Chicago. Your asking residents to pay for parking in front of their house. Which again comes from someone that obviously has additional cash flow [that yes makes owning a vehicle nuts]and advocating that a system of this nature (in Chicago no less) would run smoothly.
    Let’s say for conversation sake, the City would be in favor of this,(Parking Meters come to mind), now your saying the revenue (which all gov’t agencies are in favor of) would actually trickel down to the right places? I won’t even go into the “policing” action, no-one pays the parking tickets now.
    Now if we “fine tune” the idea just a bit, what if a group of home-owners got a fare stake in letting the spot in front be sold?

  2. JVH says:

    Actually I love the idea that homeowners would get a reduction on their property taxes. But you are right, no city government would allow the money to get away. As for cash flow, the person can afford 25K for the car, 2k for insurance, $75 a go to fill up, 1k for maintenance, $250 a year for tires, but can’t afford to pay to park it. Sorry John, doesn’t compute.

  3. Lindsay says:

    Yeah, this is how it is on my street…I don’t have a garage, but I also don’t have a car.
    I purchase a book of permits for friends and family who come to visit and don’t ride bikes or take transit.
    But anyone can park for free from 9-5. That’s when most cars on my street are gone as people drive to their jobs.

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