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The Mechanics
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Neighborhoods Mon Mar 01 2010

How to End Cheap Parking

Should government planning policies be aimed at slowly phasing out cheap parking, to force cities to plan for efficiency and redundantly, and drive up demand for public transportation to ensure its continued expansion? Here's what one California legislator is trying to do (via GOOD):

California state senator Alan Lowenthal has stirred up a nest of idiots hornets with his Senate Bill 518. Lowenthal, recognizing that providing lots of subsidized parking is only enabling our addiction to cars, has introduced legislation that would incentivize cities to start reforming their parking rules.

His legislation would work like this: There's a buffet of different parking reforms, and each is worth a different number of points. A city can choose whichever reforms it wants to enact and if their points total reaches 20, it gets an edge in getting state funding. The reforms are wide-ranging. A city could, for example, install parking meters in high-demand areas (five points), raise parking meter rates to reflect market prices (10 points), or entirely scrap the requirements that new residential buildings come with a minimum number of parking spaces (20 points). You can see all the reforms and their point values here.

 
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Chris / March 1, 2010 1:03 PM

Great find! This type of regulation would be great for any urban area. It wouldn't remove cars from the cities, but it would encourage car-pooling and use of public transportation. I am very much in favor of the requirement that all employers be required to provide transit passes, on a monthly basis to all employees pre-tax. Employees could opt-out of using the pass.
Of course what SHOULD happen rarely does.

RAStewart / March 1, 2010 1:17 PM

"All of a sudden the city would be forced to think of building transit-oriented development ..."

Right there is where the problem would lie, I think, at least in Chicago. I like the idea of this legislation in theory, but in practice I fear it would be my perennial gripe again about what passes for transportation planning here: it's all stick and no carrot. No matter what the demand becomes for more public transportation, I don't trust the city to plan for it, and the state was never about to provide adequate funding even before the collapse of its financial house of cards.

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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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