On an average day, the typical car owner doesn’t give much thought to parking, beyond whether they will luck out and find a spot to park when they reach their destination.
We’ve had this luxury — even if it feels like a pain — because for nearly a century, our cities have been oriented around the automobile. In many American cities, up to 98 percent of people own a car. We allocate space for parking, because otherwise how would we go about our lives? It makes sense.
Or does it?
It’s estimated that a one lane mile of roadway costs about $2 million tax dollars to build. Add to that maintenance, wages for parking enforcement staff and other costs, and free parking isn’t really free. Parking costs money, and the spot by the curb you squeeze into is paid for by all of us, through our tax dollars.