Josh Wolsky

When it comes to parking, we’ve already embraced socialism

Equal and available parking for all the cars in all the places all the time! I don’t remember the street protest and social activism that secured this ‘right’ for us, but there’s no doubt that the wheels of government drove us straight to our current state of parking utopia. 

Through on-street parking in front of our 4-car wide roads — we secured the right to park! Through zoning ordinances that force investors to give our most valuable real estate directly to the cars — we secured the right to park! And yes, through the construction of our illustrious parking garages — we secured the right to park! 

If you can’t tell, what you’ve just read was a cynical attempt at humor. But have you ever strolled down our streets at a slow enough speed enough to take in all the parking we’ve created for our cars? There’s at least a grain of truth in what you’ve just read; regardless of whether you like it, agree with it, or want and use the free parking.

And my take was soft exposure to our hypocritical hate of socialism. If you really want to read a rant on America’s great parking experiment for the cars, check out the commentary from City Observatory linked below.

This article was sourced from:

Joe Cortright, City Observatory

Source

Josh Wolsky

Alderman for Minot, Editor and Publisher of TheMinotVoice, Developer of the #ForMinot Network,  Co-Host of #GoodTalk Minot, Advocate and Friend of the Souris River, and clearly -- all things #MakeMinot.

2 comments on “When it comes to parking, we’ve already embraced socialism

Bob

“hypocritical hate of socialism”? I’m not catching what your throwing? Hypocritical? Commercial business won’t succeed if they don’t provide necessary parking for customers. A city won’t thrive if it doesn’t plan for adequate parking (paid for with tax dollars btw). Parking is part of a city infrastructure, it’s supports quality of life and business that in turn generate more tax revenue. So I’d say parking is a result of capitalism. What were founded on, what works. There is good reason for distain of socialism, it doesn’t work. So hypocritical hate? Hmmmm…??

Josh Wolsky

Hi Bob!
Thanks for reading and commenting. I say ‘hypocritical’ because I believe this is an example of where we embrace the state/government requirement for provision of a scarce resource that a free market would otherwise provide for (and price) appropriately if the government didn’t force the issue. As example, though shall not develop a property on Broadway in Minot without providing parking in an amount correlated to the square footage of the building. The picture above is a perfect example of this… that’s not a parking lot, that’s a parking wasteland. And it’s in Minot. Do you really think the developer of that property wanted to waste that valuable land on asphalt? I doubt it. It’s my opinion that without the requirements provided by ordinance, that private developer would have done a more efficient job of determining what was needed for the successful operation of the space they developed. And if they didn’t, then the free market would adjust the lease rates of those spaces accordingly.

All that said, I agree — in this case — it’s not purely hypocritical, for me. I think our government enforced parking requirements and the subsequent sacrifice of property to that purpose is analogous to socialism. And in this case of socialistic parking — I do hate it. But I don’t think everybody sees this the way I do. Mostly, I don’t think people think about parking at all or what it costs us. Mostly, we think of it as free. Part of this article was to introduce the opposite idea — that even though we don’t usually pay each time we park, that doesn’t mean we aren’t paying at other times.

Property taxes are good example of how we pay for parking without knowing we’re paying for parking. How much more would that complex pictured above produce in property taxes if it weren’t parking lot?

Just some things to think about, again, thanks for reading!
Josh Wolsky

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