Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pay Your Parking Meter

I've gotten one parking ticket in Pittsburgh (for an expired meter) and I was shocked at how low the fee was - $16 in Oakland. It's the same in Downtown and Uptown. Outside of those neighborhoods, you currently pay a measly $11. Most parking enforcement fees settle at $15. Considering you'd be lucky to find parking in a garage in Oakland or Downtown for that price, I'm betting most people find it worth the parking ticket risk, especially when they're running late for a $100 per ticket Penguins game. (But whatever you do, don't park in a handicapped space or you'll be facing fines of $200 and lots of bad karma.)

The city of Pittsburgh has noticed this discrepancy and in the latest round of "what-can-we-tax-next" has settled on parking enforcement fees. So far, they're not seeing much push back, and the preliminary vote is today. Personally, I think Pittsburgh has dropped the ball on this one. The rates haven't been raised since they were decided upon in 1988. Has anything else in this country stayed the same price in those intervening 22 years? Certainly, our meter maids salaries have risen in the meantime putting a crunch on the city's budget. I implore the city to research and find other oversights and to put into place a reasonable plan for increasing general fees with inflation and stay away from silly, divisive taxes on pop. Nobody likes to pay more for services, but unfortunately that's the nature of money.

Perhaps this move will also take some pressure off the leasing of the parking garages fear. If the city is willing to raise rates involving parking and the sky doesn't fall, maybe we will survive a lease of the parking garages.

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