Parking enforcement is one of the sneakier ways a local government can drive up to costs of living in a city without generating direct protest and sometimes without generating even much notice. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in the last fiscal year, the city of San Francisco raked in $1.5M in additional revenue – $660K from meters and $820K from parking fines – from removing Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Veterans Day as meter-free holidays. The change occurred July, 2009 and has produced eight holidays that are no longer meter-free.
While the city celebrates the extra money it makes, the citizens can only lament the extra inconvenience and hassle of remembering to pay meters on these holidays, not to mention the additional costs in parking. The disparity in fines versus collected fees likely demonstrates (or confirms for me) that parking rules are mainly about generating lucrative fines.
For more details see “Holiday parking enforcement: cash cow for the city“
WLS-TV in Chicago reports that the cost of parking on the streets of Chicago is going to increase in 2010:
In the span of just one year, the price to park at a downtown meter will have gone up more than 41 percent…
Beginning January 4th, rates at meters in the Loop will go up 75 cents, to $4.25 for an hour.
If you’re outside the Loop but park between North Avenue, Halsted and Roosevelt Road, you’ll pay an extra 50 cents, bringing the hourly price to park to $2.50.
Rates throughout the rest of the city will increase a quarter.
The Mayor and City Council agreed to the annual rate hikes when they signed over control of the parking meters to a private firm in exchange for just under $1.2 billion in upfront cash.