Crain's reported yesterday that Chicago is raising the rates on street parking next week by up to 17% in some areas. Predictably, this news is being met with disgust by most residents of the city. However, as far as I'm concerned this action is long overdue. I've been praying for this all year.
This is simple economics. Try finding a street spot in the central business district in the middle of the day. You can't. Obviously demand > supply because these spots are worth more than they cost. A scarce resource is underpriced. So the price should be raised. I'd rather find a spot at $5.75/ hour than not find one at $5/ hour. I'll save that much in time and gas by not driving around for 20 minutes trying to find street parking.
If you think about it there is plenty to like about this for people of various political persuasions. The environmentalists can be happy that there is now a stronger incentive for people to take public transportation and the free marketers can be happy that the pricing is now more market based.
The only problem is that the city doesn't benefit from the increased rates - Chicago Parking Meters LLC does. But that's a whole other can of worms. Looks like that deal was underpriced too.