Great Moments in Car Culture

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Citizens say the darndest things (emphasis mine):

"It's horrible," said Michael Wicks, who used to drive into the Loop for work, but now takes public transportation. "We are living in a recession, yet they are nickel-and-diming the residents of Chicago."

In addition, most people the Tribune talked to did not appreciate having to hike to a parking box.

"I don't like having to get out of my car, going to the meter halfway down the block, and going back to my car," said Ron Jones, 57, as he walked back to his car Wednesday in Lincoln Park to put a parking receipt on his dashboard.

"It's inconvenient," he said.

Look: parking meter rates were going to go up. That's not the problem; it's not even a bad thing for the most part, though kudos to the reporter for pointing out that the burden is difficult for commercial drivers who have to use meters as part of their job. The problem, of course, is that a lack of political will to raise parking rates was one of the factors in the decision to privatize the meters. As Felix Salmon puts it, "the only way of baking in these price hikes was for the city government to tie its own hands — which is exactly what it did."

For more on the benefits of raising parking meter rates, beyond merely reducing traffic density, I highly recommend this interview with parking expert Donald Shoup. And for a refresher course on the actual problems with the sale of our parking meters, we've got a whole archive on parking meter privatization.

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