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09 March 2009

Parking Meter FAIL, Round 2

I first blogged about this here. What's really funny is that at the end of that article I say that we have to stop spending so much (so that we don't have to do things like sell off parking meters to private companies in order to pay our debts... it makes Chicago seem like a drug addict), but of course now the name of the game is for government to spend as much as possible. Oh how so much can change in not quite three months!

Chicago finally raised the rates of meters in my area and increased the hours in which you have to feed them. This picture is a broken meter, broken because it's so full of quarters it can't accept any more. I did a quick survey on my 2 block walk. Two meters were still functioning out of about 30.


Okay, now the fun part. HAHAHAHA!

"A tax is only as good as your ability to collect it." - I thought that was Benjamin Franklin, but I couldn't source it.

So here's what happened. The meters in my area went from $1 an hour to $2 an hour. In addition to that the east west streets used to stop charging at 6 PM, now it's 9 PM. Also, Sundays and holidays are no longer free days. It went from $1 an hour for 60 hours a week to $2 an hour 91 hours a week on the side streets. That's an increase of roughly 300%... how does that break down in quarters? From a max of 240 to a max of 728... I know, it's terribly complex. It's so complex that The Man forgot to triple the size of the workforce that collects the quarters from the meters. I wonder if they've figured this out yet? In the mean time raising parking rates has led to free parking.

Here's a few other interesting things I've noticed. The meters for the most part still stay full all the time. I thought doubling the rates would have more of an impact but it really hasn't. Parking spots are only marginally easier to find now. I wouldn't have guessed demand was so inelastic (the change in demand was not equal to the change in price, signaling that there are few substitute goods). The amount of cars circling for parking has definitely been reduced. The streets around my area are less busy now; not that I have numbers to back that up but it's noticeable. All in all I think it's an improvement, but I'm still upset that the city sold the rights to it's meters. It could have all been done better.

1 comment:

Ben said...

This is actually considered an EPIC fail...go Chicago. Selling the skyway to Skyway Concession Company (1/2 Australian, 1/2 Spanish)is also an epic fail. That marked the first time a public toll road was privatized in the United States (Daley = modern day pioneer). How long until the CTA graces the pages of ebay? I am jonesin' for a hit of that yellow rock...