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Life, liberty, and cheap parking

Yesterday was the home opening for the Boston Red Sox. Being utterly apathetic about sports of any and all kinds, I did my best to avoid any and all accounts of it. (I still heard that they managed to win, though. Yippee.) But one of the stories did catch my interest.

As anyone who's ever been to Boston knows, parking in Beantown is a colossal pain. Especially for special events like Red Sox games. A lot of entrepeneurially-minded property owners around Fenway Park take advantage of games to shut down their normal business and instead go into the parking business for the game -- they make a hell of a lot more money that way.

One such place is Leahy's Mobil Station, barely a block from the stadium. For the privilege of such a short walk, Leahy's was collecting $90 per car.

So, how does the city feel about such entrepeneurship?

Not. Happy.

Mayor Thomas "Mumbles" Menino issued a statement saying he's going to seek a city ordinance capping how much private lots can charge for parking. One of those city councilors called the rates "criminal," and city officials are looking at ways to punish the lot owners -- such as rigorous inspections, citations, and even pulling their parking licenses.

Pardon me, but when the hell did "cheap parking" become a Constitutional right? Especially "cheap parking to go see a baseball game?"

Here's a simple test for the parking socialists: check out the lots that charge the most on game day. If they're full, then they're not charging too much. People who can not or will not pay that much will say "screw it" and find another way to deal with it. The lot owners are not sending armed attendants out into the street to force people to park there.

The real issue here is not that the prices are too high, but that the city isn't getting their piece of the pie. They see some people making really good money, and are infuriated that they can't get their hands on it. To be financially successful is a bad thing, and must be punished.

I'm a firm believer in the free market, and that's exactly what this is: the lot owners have discovered that they can make a hell of a lot more money on certain days than others, and adjust their pricing to reflect "what the market will bear." There is absolutely no coercion involved, and setting their prices too high will be its own punishment as would-be parkers will simply go elsewhere. If they manage to find the "sweet spot" where the number of people willing to pay equals the number of spaces they have to fill, more power to them.

And if it aggravates the hell out of the socialist-leaning (I'm being kind here) autocrats who run Beantown, so much the better.

(Bruce over at Mass Backwards -- who desperately needs to finalize his move here to New Hampshire before he blows an aneurysm -- has a pretty good take on this as well, but his language is typically NSFW. I really can't fault Bruce for that, though; if I lived in Massachusetts, I'd be sorely pressed to refrain from cursing as well.)


Comments (10)

You would think they would ... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

You would think they would be happy about anything that makes it more expensive for people to drive eeeeeeeevil automobiles....

That Mobil Station should h... (Below threshold)
Taz:

That Mobil Station should have been selling gas. This businessman was screwing the gov't out of it's precious tax dollar! How dare he! It's actions like this that will kill the economy!

Ha.

This happens all the time where I live, we have a new stadium now, with parking everywhere to prevent this kind of stealing from the gov't.

the lot owners hav... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
the lot owners have discovered that they can make a hell of a lot more money on certain days than others, and adjust their pricing to reflect "what the market will bear."

I know I have seen an example of that somewhere else... let me seeeeee... oh yah, the airlines. If you book less then a week before the flight you pay more for the seat than if you booked earlier. If you show up the day you need to get somewhere you pay lots more. If you buy a round trip ticket, but don't stay over a weekend you pay more than if you come back on Sunday. Airlines know there are two main markets, business travelers and tourists. The idea is to clip the business traveler without losing the tourist dollars. How does the beantown royalty feel about airlines charging to maximize their profits in a free market?

He threatened the same thin... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

He threatened the same thing last year! Like you say Jay, mumbles is just upset that the city doesn't get any piece of this free market enterprise!

I'm sure Mumbles would be all for it if the city levied a parking tax at a certain percentage of the revenue generated from each car parked.

As I recall, the Red Sox ha... (Below threshold)

As I recall, the Red Sox have the highest average ticket price in the majors. Given that Mumbles is a season ticket holder of the Old Towne Team, I'm surprised he hasn't complained about that.

Actually I'm not.

It's probably because John Henry's a huge financial backer of Democrats.

Every lawn withing half a m... (Below threshold)

Every lawn withing half a mile of Michigan Stadium turns into a paid parking lot on football Saturdays. As far as I know, the Socialist Republic of Ann Arbor has not tried to regulate them, other than not letting them park on sidewalks, etc.

Prices are very market-oriented. The farther you are, the lower they are. Go far enough, and you can park for free on a side street if you show up early enough.

Make sure you read today's ... (Below threshold)

Make sure you read today's Boston Herald article about the lot attendant at Leahy's Mobil who gets verbally harassed by one of Boston's finest over his parking prices.

Irony Personified: A police officer working a paid detail at Fenway Park complaining to a private citizen about price gouging.

Any idiot who's that willin... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Any idiot who's that willing or desperate to fork over $90 (holy f***!) to park and see any game--or any event, for that matter--shouldn't be stopped from doing so. It's their property, they can choose to do with it what they like. And if the market bears it, the market bears it.

$90? I still can't get over that! Hell, and I thought parking near Safeco Field was bad at $25. Now it looks like a freaking bargain...but I'll still park in my $6 lot and walk the mile and a half to get to the stadium...stopping at pubs along the way because walking builds up a thirst, ya know. :-)

I'll echo "Peter F." above.... (Below threshold)
fletch:

I'll echo "Peter F." above...

I paid $10 to park on someone's front lawn less than 2 blocks from the front gate on Ky. Derby Day in 1993...

$90?!?!

I can walk a long fucking way for $90... :o)

Park where it's free and ta... (Below threshold)

Park where it's free and take a taxi. It'd be cheaper.




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