An excellent article in today’s Seattle Times documents the sundry carrots and sticks that businesses use to reduce solo driving.
Few things are less sexy but more powerful than parking—a point Sightline has been making for some time. (This op-ed ticked off Rush Limbaugh, despite the fact that our argument—that parking should be deregulated—comes straight from the free-market playbook.)
The federal tax code should stop subsidizing parking and local governments should strike mandatory parking from building and zoning codes.
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Maybe Rush got so mad because, like most drivers, he’s used to “free” parking. The problem is: parking isn’t really free. The costs are hidden, subsidized by tax dollars, or passed on in the form of environmental degradation. The Times article describes how drivers in western Washington are gradually coming face to face with parking scarcity, and its inevitable byproduct—rising prices.
When one Redmond, Washington company began charging its employees just five dollars a month for formerly “free” parking, solo commuting dropped by a quarter, from 90 percent to 67 percent, in a single year.