Greater City Providence

News & Notes: Parking Edition


News & Notes

Chicago Proposes “Congestion Fee” On Parking to Fund Transit [Streetsblog]

In last winter’s Chicago mayoral election, all the leading candidates made ambitious promises to increase funding for the city’s struggling transit agency. Now, with a proposed $2 “congestion fee” – really a downtown surcharge on the city’s parking tax – Emanuel plans to make drivers pay their fair share and use the proceeds to build a new rail station and the city’s first bus rapid transit line.

Under Emanuel’s plan, anyone parking in a downtown lot or garage would be required to pay an additional $2 on top of the existing parking tax. Drivers parking on the street or in residential garages wouldn’t be taxed, though according to the Chicago Tribune, some transportation advocates want to see the fee extended to downtown meters. According to the Sun-Times, the fee would raise roughly $28 million.

We don’t even have a parking tax, check out Chicago’s current parking tax.

It’s the Parking, Stupid: One Transportation Consultant’s Tough Love Approach [The Atlantic Cities]

Transportation consultant Jeffrey Tumlin figures that you’ve got to be colorful when you’re talking about the intractable problems of urban parking infrastructure. As such, he describes what he does this way: “Our business operates like a methadone clinic to get cities off their parking addictions,” he says. “And each addict goes through a different route.”

Tumlin starts with another great metaphor: What would happen if we gave all children free ice cream? They would, undoubtedly, be thrilled. But in the process we’d also be creating obesity, driving up the price of milk, and probably causing a cheese shortage. “And just as it would be very bad economic and social policy to provide free ice cream for all children,” Tumlin says, “it is also bad to provide free parking for all motorists.”

Parking in Budapest

I can’t even begin to imagine how expensive this was to build.

Finally, this ground my gears earlier this week:

Say what you will about the Occupy movement, it seems they are at the least, not pleased with big business’ actions, hence the removing of funds from Bank of America. It seems, just like almost everyone else, parking and it’s consequences are not given a thought. Remove your money from BofA to hand it over to ExxonMobil et. al. to fuel your cars? Plus, they are occupying the states public transportation hub, why are they driving?

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • That last video, I want about 8 of those here in Providence. Eight at 400 cars each would be 3,200 parking slots.

    Just the revenue from that alone if it were a municipal enterprise, damn!

  • As a bike-riding #OccupyProvidence member, I too was frustrated by that post. I worry that our movement is already asking for too much from the public (see some of the comments on our “needs” posts, ) as some people are trying to camp here without having brought any appropriate supplies | and I think the comment about parking pushes that to another level. Though we’re a leaderless movement, there are de-facto leaders who administer the Facebook page, and thus get to decide what’s a valid request to post there.

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