As our energy problems get worse and worse, politicians at all levels — from city councils to the U.S. Congress — will have to start looking for ways to stop wasting fuel. And guess what may be ultimately headed for the chopping block (don’t shoot the messenger): Free Parking.
As the population becomes more aware of how many ways fuel is wasted — everything from poor mileage to improperly inflated tires — our millions of free parking spaces are looking more and more like that proverbial sore thumb.
When new parking spaces and garages are built, there’s less land for housing and office/industrial space, and real estate prices go up. People are encouraged to drive instead of using mass transit if they know there’ll be a free parking space waiting for them. Excessive dependence on cars plus increased housing prices equals urban sprawl.
And these problems all reinforce each other. Mass transit deteriorates because everyone would rather drive. Thousands of people move to a small outlying community where housing is cheaper; then the housing prices go way up in this formerly outlying community, and thousands of people move still further away to find cheaper housing. Zillions of new parking spaces, garages and lots are built, and the cycle continues…
In 2002, $374 billion was spent nationwide to subsidize off-street parking. In other words, “free parking” isn’t free.
If you’re between the ages of 34 and 39 and you’re in favor of the war in Iraq, you probably thought you were too old to go over there and get in on the action. Well, Good News!
Because of recruitment problems (I wonder why), the enlistment age has now been extended to 39. No longer do you have to sit on the sidelines, frustrated at being too old to get in there and Kill The Enemy. You go, Guy.