As this column is being read, Whitehorse is installing new parking meters.
This is so the city can charge more for parking.
It will now cost 25 cents for every 15 minutes that is spent at a meter.
Now considering the cost of a vehicle, and considering what it costs to build a street, a quarter for 15 minutes is not too much to spend on parking.
There are a few benefits to this increase.
First is income.
Higher rates mean more money for the city.
As long as this revenue is spent wisely, increased revenue can be a blessing.
The city provides a multitude of services from swimming pools to sewage pipes.
If slightly higher parking rates are contributing towards these items, it is a good thing.
The second issue is that by increasing the fee it could deter frequent users of the metered spaces from using them, thus opening the spots up for others.
Individuals might not want to park on Main Street, given that they can park a few blocks away for free.
Of course, then they might then have to walk.
In North America’s vehicle obsessed culture that is not even on the discussion table.
The concept that people in a $20,000 vehicle paying at least $50 for a tank of gas will inconvenience themselves by walking three blocks to save a quarter or two on parking has benefits for others.
More metered parking spots, generally the good ones near the nice stores, might be available for others.
In summer, tourists will find this especially convenient.
A third, and final benefit, is the increase in metered parking fees will force drivers to look at alternatives to driving.
While it seems improbable even a slight increase in the cost of operating a vehicle, be it in the price of gas, of insurance, even of parking fees, might push a driver into riding a bicycle, joining a car pool, getting on a bus or even becoming a pedestrian.
Anything that gets people out of their greenhouse gas spewing vehicles is a good thing.
One change that the city might want to consider is removing the time limit that people can use a parking meter for.
Typically, most meters have a one or two hour time limit.
Even if the vehicle owner pumps more money into the machine they can still get a ticket if the vehicle has already been at the meter for the designated full time limit.
All this does is force the vehicle owner, after the time limit has been reached, to start the car up and drive a block or two away to find a new meter spot.
They then pump a couple of quarters into the meter at the new spot.
Instead of all the bother, and the release of greenhouse gases, the city should let people stay at a meter for a long as the want.
This is contingent on the vehicle owner continuing to ensure the meter is fed a steady diet of quarters.
The city gets the money, the vehicle owner gets a parking spot, and everyone is happy.