screen-shot-2013-05-23-at-9-36-25-pmApparently parking near Lehi High School has become a contentious issue, though it needn’t be.

The Daily Herald reported earlier this month that high school students are taking up a lot of the street parking around the school. The article is sympathetic to a woman who is upset because medical providers can’t easily get to her house due to students taking up all the space on her street.
Lehi High School already has a lot of parking and is alarming car-centric. But if people want more street parking, let them pay a fair price for it.

It’s a sad story, though the woman’s view would likely fall into what I’ve previously called “parking welfare.” And it’s all the more frustrating because its recipients are typically oblivious that they’re acting entitled.

That said, no high school should have student parking; students should rely on biking, walking and public transit to get to school. If those were the only options, school districts would be forced to stop building utterly unwalkable schools.

In any case, as I said above, this shouldn’t be a contentious issue; the obvious solution is to raise prices for parking. In this case, demand for parking exceeds supply. Or, the “good,” parking, is so cheap that everyone wants it. They even feel entitled to it.

However, parking isn’t really free, it’s produced by tax payers and their contractors. So it doesn’t make sense to pay for something like pavement, stripping, signage, landscaping, etc. and then give it away for less than people will pay.

More specifically, this neighborhood would apparently be a good candidate for some sort of parking meter or permit program.

I have no doubt that residents and student alike would balk at that idea. But ultimately there’s no reason to treat parking like anything else that costs money to produce and which people want. So in this case, the easiest and fairest solution is just to charge a price for parking – and really any price would work because right now it has none — and let the market decide who has the greatest need.