Tag Archives: parking meters

Parking meters: It’s all supply and demand

So it seems the Association des restaurateurs is in a tiff because the city suggested that its opinions on parking meters (namely, that they shouldn’t exist) are “marginal”.

Okay, they’re only saying that their hours should be reduced, but business-owners groups always comes out against increases in meter rates or hours, and in favour of their reductions. They also oppose most reserved bus lanes because those take parking spots away.

The argument is that drivers’ are frustrated at having to pay excessive meter rates, and this encourages urban sprawl and moves to the suburbs.

Really? I’m not a driver, so I can’t speak from experience, but it seems to me drivers aren’t annoyed at paying meter rates as much as they are annoyed at having to drive around the block 50 times looking for a spot. After all, as pissed off as they are about paying meter rates, they’re not pissed off enough to stop using them to capacity.

Parking spaces are a finite resource downtown. Trying to accomodate drivers is a strategy that is destined to fail. Therefore the alternative is to encourage other forms of transportation, like buses and taxis (which don’t need to be parked) and bicycles (which don’t take up much space).

Even if you reject that conclusion, parking meter management should be simple, conforming to the rules of supply and demand. If the meters are used to capacity, the rates should go up until the demand is reduced. If demand is so low that the spaces are unused, rates should be reduced to encourage more use and keep those businesses happy.

What’s so complicated in all this. I mean, besides the political grandstanding?