Seattle's liberal new mayor is talking big about bumping up the price of parking in the central city and the response is outrage on the right. In response, Eric
Hess de Place over at NW enviro think tank Sightline has a funny write-up about how right-wingers should support paid-for parking because free parking is essentially socialist:
Under current law and practice, on-street parking is pretty much a textbook case of socialism. It works like this: the government raises revenue, builds streets, and then mandates portions of the public property be set aside exclusively for storing private vehicles. In most cases, the government gives away the storage for free. But in a few cases, such as downtown, the government meters the spaces, albeit far below market rates. The result is completely predictable: we get Soviet bread lines.This is an issue I wish some city commissioner would take on around Portland, even though it's politically toxic. Sam Adams tried to push for paid parking on Hawthorne back in aught six and had a merchant revolt on his hands. Parking meters are easy to hate, but they make sense! Especially on places like Hawthorne and Mississippi where parking is tight, having a timed spot would free up parking as people make a point to get back to their cars in a reasonable time frame.
No, drivers in Seattle aren't huddling in long gray lines in the winter chill. But they're doing the automotive equivalent: circling the block again, hunting for government-subsidized bargains, and creating all kinds of congestion problems.