Property Rights

The Polycentric Parking System

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Josh McCabe looks at people digging the snow off their cars in Boston and sees one of last year's Nobel laureates in economics, Elinor Ostrom:

Property of Jesus

On-street parking seems like it would be the mother of all tragedies of the commons. This is especially true after it snows. You spend all morning shoveling out your car (especially after the plows have come by and made a 20 foot high snow bank blocking you in) only to have some jerk who didn't even lift a finger come along and take it as soon as you leave. And indeed this happens in some parts of the city but usually only in the commercial districts where people don't park long enough to get snowed in anyways. How do people prevent the tragedy of the commons from happening? Are there violent altercations in the streets? Did the government privatize all the available street parking? Or maybe they instituted a whole slew of regulations on the matter?

The answer is: none of the above. Winter parking in the city is one of the best examples of what Hayek would call a spontaneous order or Ostrom would call a polycentric system. Public space is privately regulated by something as simple as putting an object in the parking spot after you've moved your car….And depending on what neighborhood you're in, you might just find your mirror missing or your tire slashed if you still decide to steal the spot. There are all sorts of local rules regulating the practice too. For example, you can't save your spot if there was only a few inches of snow on the ground and shoveling out your car once doesn't entitle you to that spot all winter. The rules are usually very local and organic.

Read the whole thing here. Paul Dragos Aligica celebrates Ostrom's work here. I defend those local and organic parking-place property rights here.

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  1. Yeah, that’s swell and all. But what are you going to do when some out of towner stiff-arms your plastic Obama and parks his hummer in your spot?

    Rules without enforcement are not laws, and enforcement without law is anarchy.

    1. “you might just find your mirror missing or your tire slashed if you still decide to steal the spot.”

      That’s what.

      1. Thanks, Ed. I just added the sentence to the quote for those who didn’t click through.

    2. Progress: they talk like pirates now.

      1. That was supposed to be @ DP.

        1. SPEAKING OF SYSTEMS BREAKING DOWN!

          My comment was entered on its own, not in reply to anyone. I think the squirrels are trying to tell me something about parking my comments in the wrong spot.

          1. I seem to have inadvertently caused that while deleting a duplicate comment above yours. Weird.

            1. …while deleting a […] comment…

              I never suspected you for the censoring kind, Walker.

              Ha! Naw, I’m just joshing. I always figured you as the control-the-message type.

    3. too many fucking yuppie scum…break their mirrors? I say blow up their cars

  2. You know, Somalia started out with almost the exact same situation and look where it is now.

  3. OK, I lived in NYC during the mid 90s when there were quite a number of heavy snowfalls. It doesn’t make any difference if you just spent two hours shoveling out your car, you can’t save your spot.

    Is this true in Boston?

    1. A commenter on the original blog post reports that NYC, or at least my neighborhood, has no such convention, perhaps because “alternate side parking rules” for street cleaning force you to leave your space. You can’t put a marker there because the street-cleaning trucks will just push it aside or crush it.

    2. People save spaces in Chicago too.

    3. I can’t speak for Boston, but in Chicago, we have an informal rule known as ‘dibs’.

      After you shovel out your car from the snow, you place an object in your newly cleared out spot, thus announcing to all your ‘dibs’ on that spot.

      1. My experience with on street parking in Chicago consisted of me shoveling half a block over a week then having lazy people put chairs in the spots I had shoveled.

        I responded to these actions calmly and responsibly. I would smash the items in the spots I shoveled then scream out a challenge to the lowlifes. A few came out only to scamper away from the deranged maniac that I had become.

        1. I hate, hate, hate the broom and chair ‘dibs’ here in Chicago. One of these winters, I may just rent a pick-up truck and go lawn furniture rustling after a big snowfall.

  4. Some people skip reading the article due to time constraints or blocked web sites. You, sir, have done them one better. You don’t even read the blog post before commenting. Bravo!

  5. Rules without enforcement are not laws,

    Enforcement does not need armed men in uniform.

    and enforcement without law is anarchy.

    Enforcement by people who are not carrying guns and wearing uniforms need not be done according to the law.

    See, also, “civil society”.

    1. I’m down with the social compact. I’m just saying, there will always be people who don’t play by the rules, and your civil society will have to figure out how to deal with them. If that means violating their property rights without due process, I say you’ve left your “civil society” behind.

    2. Slashing your tires for parking in front of my appartment, where I used to be parked, is civil society? Some neighborhoods just don’t have the spots to spare, and it’s bad enough to waste 20-30 minutes looking for parking on any given night (at least in Astoria), and that’s without snowfall.

      1. As other commenters have pointed out, the vandalism occurs only in certain times and places; more typically the rules are enforced through simple custom and social suasion. I have a more detailed discussion of that in the article I linked to at the end of the post. The piece also notes that some of these problems could be resolved through privatization and/or decentralization.

        1. Privatization of what, the street?

          Great, now I can’t park on my block because it’s now owned by McDonalds and for customers only.

          I have read Hayek, but for some reason I imagine he would be against people destroying property, or harming others over imaginary property rights.

          1. oops, should of said, I haven’t read Hayek.

          2. Privatization of parking spaces. Or creating a more flexible, neighborhood-based system for issuing and regulating parking permits. Either might be a good idea, depending on the social/geographic context.

            1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but for the most part we are taking about parking on the street, and not in parking spaces per se.

              And why do we need more regulation? People should be free to park in any available parking space not privately owned.

              1. You are wrong. Parking on the street is parking in a “parking space” by definition.

                Recognizing property rights isn’t regulation. Or if it is, it’s the kind we approve of. The lack of private ownership is what’s creating the problem.

                See: Tragedy of the Commons.

                1. “”You are wrong. Parking on the street is parking in a “parking space” by definition.””

                  Sure they are parking spaces but, you are still parking on the street, which is public. It’s not the same a parking in a parking lot or in a parking space on private property. No specific individual has property rights over street parking.

                  “”The lack of private ownership is what’s creating the problem.””

                  Not true, the problem is with overcrowding. Not enough supply for demand. You can buy a spot in a parking garage if you want, or can afford.

                  1. we have a good system to deal with this issue…it is called “economic rent” for access to common spaces in the form of a parking meter!

                2. I just took this article as proof that order can be acheived without law. Also, I don’t really see much of a problem with tires being slashed. Sure, a few tourists get pissed off, but word spreads (this article was posted, after all).

              2. why do we need more regulation? People should be free to park in any available parking space not privately owned.

                I’m referring to the system of parking permits that cities often establish for neighborhoods where residents request them. Unfortunately, it is often the case — it certainly is in Baltimore — that the locals then have no say in the rules for the permits, forcing neighbors to choose between following regulations that aren’t appropriate for local needs or not having permits at all. Devolving such decisions to the neighborhood level could improve the situation immensely.

                1. But in big cities there often isn’t a line between residents and commercial areas. So if you issue permits for residents, buisness owners are screwed because their customers can’t park. It’s going to be crying for someone either way. The current system is best for these areas. First come, first serve. Move it, you lose it.

                  1. But in big cities there often isn’t a line between residents and commercial areas. So if you issue permits for residents, buisness owners are screwed because their customers can’t park.

                    That is one example of the ways that an inflexible, centralized parking permit system could be improved by more local control.

                    1. What control could possibly improve it for both the buisness and the resident? If someone drives into the city to shop where do they park? The business shouldn’t be able to reserves street parking, nor should residences. The last thing you need with there isn’t enough supply is empty spots that can’t be filled due to regulations.

                2. It’s an issue of supply vs demand. I don’t see the benefit of reducing supply by affording someone the exclusive right to own the parking space on the street. Besides, when the potholes come, who’s paying to fix it?

                3. “””I’m referring to the system of parking permits that cities often establish for neighborhoods where residents request them.””

                  Is this the permit that allows one to park on the street, but does not give them an actual parking spot?

                  If so, it doesn’t actual give you a space to park it just prevent non-residents from parking. The non-resident could be a friend or family member. It works better outside of the city.

                  When I visit back home, I have a friend that lives in an apartment complex that uses the permits. There are four spot in the entire lot for visitors. It’s a real pain in the ass when I visit, most the time I have to use creative parking and hope I don’t get ticketed or towed. It’s a major pain in the ass but it’s private property. The complex can dole out the spots as it pleases.

                  1. What control could possibly improve it for both the buisness and the resident? If someone drives into the city to shop where do they park?

                    You apply the rules only on certain blocks and/or only at certain times of day. Or you have time limits that apply to people without permits but not to people with permits. There are all sorts of possible variations, depending on the nature of the neighborhood.

                    Is this the permit that allows one to park on the street, but does not give them an actual parking spot?

                    If so, it doesn’t actual give you a space to park it just prevent non-residents from parking. The non-resident could be a friend or family member. It works better outside of the city.

                    It works better in some city neighborhoods than others. If the rules can vary depending on local needs, it could work in far more city neighborhoods than it does now.

                    1. “””There are all sorts of possible variations, depending on the nature of the neighborhood.”””

                      How would you post those rules? Have you ever had the pleasure of decoding the current parking reg signs in NYC? And the current rules are not a complicated as the ones you proposed. But your proposal would benefit the city due to fines issues to people who couldn’t figure out the rules.

                      But, yes, in some places the idea may work. But having real regulations on the books is very different than people pretending the street in front of their house belongs to them.

                    2. How would you post those rules?

                      If you get a permit, you learn the rules then. If you don’t get a permit, the rules needn’t be complicated.

                    3. “You apply the rules only on certain blocks and/or only at certain times of day. Or you have time limits that apply to people without permits”

                      You have to post which blocks and what time of day is not vaild for non-permit drivers.

                      The idea of resident stickers was discussed back when Guiliani was mayor. It’s not practical for NYC.

                      But if it comes down to first come first serve, or creating greater government regulation, I’ll go with first come, first serve, even when it works against me as a local resident.

                    4. You post the appropriate times of day on the block in question. On a different block, you put up a different sign.

                      The signs shouldn’t be complicated, unless you opt for some super-confusing set of hours that changes from day to day. Obviously that isn’t likely to be a good idea.

                      As for whether this constitutes greater regulation — would you say that about a parking meter?

  6. Solution : don’t live anywhere that you don’t have your own garage, driveway or carport to park your car.

    1. That’s great advice!

    2. There is no solution because there is no problem, it’s just shit you put up with owning a car in cities like Boston, NYC, and Chicago. You can’t own the street, and you have to shovel the snow to get your car. Boo friggin hoo.

  7. “you might just find your mirror missing or your tire slashed if you still decide to steal the spot.”

    Well that’s the point I’m making. Slashing tires is a vigilante system of justice. If the guy has you on his cell phone slashing his tires, you’re the one who answers to the law.

    Parking spaces should be made into property recognized by the law. Property recognized by convention is nice, but it ought not be celebrated as “an achievement of people without resorting to pesky government”. Property rights are one of the few things we libertarians do call upon the government to protect. It’s a pity that we have to resort to broken mirrors, not a triumph of spontaneous order.

    1. I tend to agree. The shovelers are providing free labor to the government which owns the streets, but which are financed and maintained by the shovelers’ taxes (thus the commons). The shovelers, having provided uncompensated labor, feel justified in occupying the space for a vaguely defined period of time. It’s an imperfect system to be sure. Ethical consideration in a civilized society favors the shovelers. But the fact remains: they don’t own the street or the parking space. Hence an uneasy, unofficial cultural fix. My solution: move south.

      1. But not too far South.

      2. I like your solution. Personally, I don’t understand why anybody would freely live in an area where one would have to regularily remove frozen water off your car in the first place.

    2. “Property rights are one of the few things we libertarians do call upon the government to protect.”

      But not intellectual property IIRC.

      1. That varies with the libertarian.

        Time once again for robc’s 2 laws of libertarianism:

        1. Everyone agrees with libertarians on something.

        2. No two libertarians agree on anything.

        1. Or you could just say the ability to critically think through any argument and nuance any side of the argument means everyone agrees with something and no one agrees with everything. The critical part being the critical thinking. (not that the group has the market cornered on critical thinking)

          The inverse is simply believing what has been presented to you and/or settling for a sliver of what you believe in, and Hoping for the rest to miraculously come to fruition. Least of two evils.

        2. On anything?

  8. Wow dude this is like way cool. I like it.

    RT
    http://www.total-anonymity.at.tc

  9. Anonymity guy sure does appreciate having a snow-free stretch of gutter to pass out in when he’s smacked up.

    1. Who doesn’t?

  10. “you might just find your mirror missing or your tire slashed if you still decide to steal the spot.”

    A more civil community would avoid this result by using this widely recognized rule…

    “Use it or lose it.”

  11. As a former resident of Chicago I can attest to the efficacy of the “you park where you shovel” ethos. The most prevalent marker in the old neighborhood was the folding chair or two. The rules were explained to newcomers. Residents were expected to explain the system to visitors. Out-of-towners typically typically got a pass for short visits, but they were tracked down if they overstayed the locally acceptable time limit. I never saw any damage to vehicles but pointed notes and face to face confrontations were not unusual. Social pressure works wonders.

    1. I’ve never heard of any damage done to cars in Chicago.

      I have heard of ‘creative’ vandalism. Letting out the air from a tire(s). Pouring water over the car and into the keyhole so it freezes are two of the ways Chicagoans use to punish those who violate the rule of ‘dibs’.

      1. That is not vandalism is the same way as waterboarding is not torture.

        1. Berg, I undestand what you are saying.

          The amount of permanent damage done to your auto is $0, but you do lose several hours of your life that you will never get back.

          1. Time and money lost due having to change a tire, have the deflated tire reflated, and maybe replacing the valve stem, isn’t $0

  12. What Warren said. Why we should celebrate tire-slashing as a miracle of civil society simply because a private citizen does it instead of a government official is a question that eludes me.

  13. I live in Chicago. The system works great. In the incredibly rare instance where someone steals a marked spot, the best idea is to shovel a bunch of snow around their car. This sends a clear message without breaking laws or violating property rights.

    1. Violating propety rights?

      Is that sort of like not showing proper respect? How is the current thug situation in Chicago?

      1. Idiots elected our biggest thug to the Whitehouse.

        1. Yeah, I say that after every election.

        2. Not specifically a Chicago thug.

  14. I live in Buffalo and have never heard of someone thinking they can save a space by putting something other than a car in it. Shoveling out sucks, but I would never expect someone not to take it just because I put something in the space. And I hope whoever is slashing tires and breaking mirrors of cars for parking in a public space is arrested and charged with damaging private property.

    1. I agree completely. A car can only be in one place at a time, and if it’s not in the place the owner shoveled, it’s somewhere else (cleared of snow by somebody else). Boston has a massive shortage of parking, and leaving spaces unused for some entitled shoveler only makes it worse.

      1. Does Boston really have a massive shortage or parking? At night, are 20% of Bostonians driving around because their are no more spaces? Or, is there a shortage of spaces really near where they want to park? But plenty a few more blocks away?

        1. It’s short enough that I’ve driven around a 10-20 block area for an hour, given up, and driven back to the burbs. Maybe it’s just for visitors though – many blocks are all resident parking, or alternating every other block with a single visitor parking space. Parking garages don’t exist at all in many areas (that’s usually my preference – I’ll pay money for convenience – I have no problem with expensive parking meters either). In fact, the next biggest problem is double parking – I’ve paid for a parking spot, and then been blocked in and unable to leave, because of double parkers (extremely common in wealthy upscale shopping areas).

    2. Cowher can have my space if he takes the job.

    3. I too agree with Rob. I live in Minneapolis and we have snow emergencies. That means that everyone has to get off certain streets on certain days so they can plow the entire street.

      I haven’t ever heard of anyone having to dig out because the city is only too glad (no matter how much they protest to the opposite) to tow anyone parking on the street and collect the tow & impound fees.

      I’m always amazed at how protective people can get over parking spots. At a client engagement I worked at a long time ago, I would purposely park over a line to take up two spots because it drove the engineers at the company nuts.

      When they confronted me, they’d tell me how not only had I taken their spot, but I had taken two spots. I’d point out to them that there were a bazillion extra spots to park in (the office building was almost vacant) and what did it really matter?

      The engineers understood that in the big picture they did sound petty, but they couldn’t help themselves.

      1. Yeah, about as petty as taking up two spots specifically to piss people off.

        1. Sorry, I wasn’t being petty. I was being an asshole. I fully admit to that.

          If you knew the parties involved, I come out slightly better. Still an asshole, but an asshole with a mission.

          My only defense is that the people who were paying me my consulting money (they were from the business side of the firm) LOVED the fact that I tormented their engineers like that.

          But yes, I was being an asshole.

      2. Many cities do not do curb to curb plowing the way Minneapolis does. When I moved East from Minneapolis I was confounded with the lawn furniture in the streets until I realized that the city never, ever plows to the curb on most streets.

  15. Every time I read an article about parking, I thank FSM that I live in the ‘burbs.

    1. My wife and I had to live in Philly during her internship. Our time there was a determining factor that led us to live in the suburbs forever. Free offstreet parking and grocery stores.

  16. I had friends who lived in downtown Boston. They certainly had means, but gave up their cars when they moved there because of the parking situation. It was easier renting whenever they needed a car.

  17. I’ve always marveled at this. It happens without snow in tight single family areas. People stake a claim on the parking spot in front of their home and the rest of the block tends to adhere to the rules.

    At one point a local municipality passed legislation saying people could no longer place their lawn furniture in the street to protect their spot along with leaving their car running in the cold. Lawn chairs disappeared and orange cones started appearing on a few blocks. As it turned out due to city residency laws for city workers damn near every block had a civil servant or knew someone. So they would go by the city main garage, grab some cones from the street or parks department and use those. I found the whole situation hilarious on more than one level.

    1. A common method for older people in the city is to get a spot the size of a Lincoln or Cadillac declared a handicapped spot right in front of their house. This is pretty common where I live.

    2. Lawn chairs disappeared and orange cones started appearing on a few blocks

      That made my day 🙂

  18. $300,000 price sets record – for parking:

    Housing prices may be down, but the cost of a coveted parking space is up. Way up.

    An unidentified buyer yesterday paid $300,000 for a private parking space in the Back Bay, making it the most expensive parking space in Boston, according to Listing Information Network, which tracks the city’s real estate market.

    Debra Sordillo, the Coldwell sales agent who brokered the deal, said several residents at 48 Commonwealth Ave. engaged in a bidding war for the space, driving the asking price of $250,000 up to the record-breaking $300,000. The winning bidder did not want to be identified, she said.

    The price is more than what many people pay for a house, but Sordillo said prime parking spaces near the Public Garden are in short supply.

    http://www.boston.com/realesta…..r_parking/

    1. That spot didn’t set the record with just it’s starting bid? So what was the previous record? $275,000?

      Color me unimpressed at the “record breaking”-ness of the price. Still a mindboggling amt to pay for parking, just nitpicking the weak use of “record setting.”

      1. It’s the Globe.

    2. A parking spot cost twice as much as my four bedroom, two bath house with a three car garage. And it’s merely in Boston, as opposed to London, Paris, New York, Toyko, or Hong Kong. Very amusing.

  19. I seem to have inadvertently caused that while deleting a duplicate comment above yours. Weird.

    It’s ’cause threaded comments suck ass, Jesse. Take note.

    1. You’re bending the wrong ear. I’ve been anti-threading since day one.

      1. Not anti-enough. Apparently the pro-threaders still live.

      2. Do we have to hold The Jacket hostage?

        1. As if you could make The Jacket come with you. It’s part of him now. I can’t be removed. Even if he looks like he’s not wearing it, it’s still there, just lurking on the edge of reality, poised to strike. How could you sneak up on the all-knowing Jacket? How could you hope to restrain the fury of it’s vengeance?

          Foolish un-Jacketed mortal.

          1. Did anyone understand The Jacket (the movie)?

            I fell asleep.

          2. The skin is not his own. He become one with the sand cows in order to set humanity down the Freedom Path.

              1. Heard that one. io9 mentioned it, too. Dune needs a lot of time to tell its story well, and I don’t see that happening. The miniseries format might’ve worked, except that it didn’t.

                1. I wish i09 would provide a Dr. Who-free rss feed.

                2. I think the milli-series format works best. Give it a 1 hr timeslot for 22 weeks. A single season series.

                  Sort of like FOX keeps doing to Whedon.

                  1. Works for me.

                  2. I’d still like to know how HBO is going to make Game of Thrones into a TV series. The cast is no where nears as horrific as it could have been, but still…

    2. I like threading. But it should also be noted that I feed on strife and anguish.

      1. You just like it because the educated classes oppose it. Goddamn teabagger.

        1. Wait. I am an over-educated elitist or a ignorant-and-damn-proud-of-it redneck? Could it be that I’m both? I need a scorecard.

          1. I’m the Aristotle of hillbillies.

            1. Airisbottle, is that you back in the hills?

    3. It appears the threader-lovers have won, so peel those “Don’t Thread on Me” bumper stickers off your cars, losers.

      I’m thinking of trying to push a name for the pro-threading crowd. Threadbaggers? Sew-Whatters? Thread Level Orange Party?

      1. good stuff…

      2. Im guessing pro-threaders never come back to the comments 6 hours later and try to figure out what the hell happened while they were gone?

        Threading only works if you have accounts so that posts can be marked as *new*.

        1. WRONG! Hours later, I’m back to see the damage I wrought, thred_h8r.

      3. ThreadHeads

  20. In philly, they have the same system.

    Interestingly, parking in South Philly is super-crowded year round, not just during snowstorms. I knew a teacher who worked at a school there who said mafioso’s enforced a “saved spot” policy. He learned this after a goodfella came up to him and said something along the lines of “Nicki likes what you’ve done for his son. How’d you like to park closer to the school?”

  21. You’re using that parking space sub-optimally. I need it for my limo, and I’m going to have the city tow your car away.

  22. if we could get the squirrels to recognise

    we could fix the whole threaded comment problem…

    1. crap

      >lawn chair

  23. Social custom always comes first. Law is a secondary concern because it’s a smaller group enforcing it. The slashed tires are a perfect example, because it shows that people are willing to break a law in order to enforce a custom.

  24. In Baltimore this system is abused by a lot of people. People will “dig out” their spots after an inch or two of snow falls and save it well beyond the point where the snow has melted away. The recent blizzard was the first time in five years that I have felt justified putting out lawn chairs to save my spot. Normally I try to avoid it since it creates a parking shortage as a spot is no longer allowed to turnover multiple times each day but instead sits empty while people drive around looking for spots. If only there was a way to save a spot after a certain time, therefore allowing people to use the spot while you were gone…

    1. Private parking meters.

  25. Cities suck.

    1. A lot about cities do suck, if you really like the city, you put up with the sucky parts.

      There is a lot about NYC I don’t like. But what I do like about it is worth putting up with the bullshit. Well, so far. When that changes, I’ll move. I’m a firm believer of voting with your feet.

    2. Old cities suck.

      East cost cities blow complete ass. I’m learning that the hard way.

      Newer cities tend to have been built around the car and can accommodate them better.

      1. East coAst!!

      2. New Cities suck.

        Older cities tend to have been built around people and can accommodate them better.

  26. And once again Reason comes down against property rights and for vandalism because, hey, it’s so cool.

    All I can say is, you slash my tires on a cold winter day, I put bricks through the windows in your house. Go ahead, call the cops and explain the chain of events to them.

    1. I never call the cops.

    2. I put bricks through the windows in your house

      And once again Tulpa comes down against property rights and for vandalism because, hey, it’s so cool.

      1. Hardly. I’m just defending my property — you know, the vehicle I actually own, not a section of pavement I shoveled off and now claim some ersatz ownership of.

        1. It’s a defense of your property rights to put a brick through someone else’s window long after the damage to your property was done? Uh, right.

          I mean, I’m actually against the sort of vandalism that some people use to defend their parking spaces (as you’d know if you had read my article before attempting to summarize my views). Whereas you seem to think it’s admirable to run around smashing people’s windows as an avenging vigilante. I guess we’re both for informally enforced customs; but you, not I, are the one that thinks the enforcement should consist of property damage.

          1. Tulpa supports the use of violence against people to protect even the smallest threat against his property. It is a consistent theme…but probably makes sense if you are a “law and order” libertarian.

  27. When you buy a car does the salesman hand you an old lawn chair and tell you that it is for your reserved parking spot that’s included with the car? No.
    Do you get an orange cone when handing over your security deposit, for your personal spot? No.

    I live in an obese rust belt city and if one of these lazy local yokels slashes my tires because they’re to fat to walk I would defend my real property over they’re perceived slight to they’re imagined property.

    The only people who should own a spot are those lacking legs, if you are ambulatory walk, slob.

    Now get off my lawn, slackers!

  28. Well, Warren above says anarchy as if it were a bad thing…in any case, there really is no such thing as enforcement. No amount of force requires rules to be followed. Instead, all we can do is punish after the fact. Rules that develop organically, on the other hand, tend to require less punishment.

  29. I live in Houston. The only place in this vast metropolis where you can’t find a place to park on the street is downtown, and there are tons of parking lots. Cause we a city of cars, hoss, and always will be, no matter how many times deluded escapees from northern climes try to convince us of the joys of mass transportation. We aren’t falling for that bullshit.

    The idea of snow covering a car is likewise foreign, although it sounds better than water covering your car. On the other hand, no one steals your parking space when a flood covers your car.

    All in all, it’s like reading a National Geographic article on the social customs of far off tribes and thinking, “I am so glad I don’t have to live like that.”

  30. I do have to wonder – what is wrong with a different parking system, such as I dig out my car, then go somewhere, and park in a spot someone else has dug out? Sure, I might have done it with a shovel, and where I go it might have been done with a plow – so what? We’re not labor theory of value types. Why is it good to have desired spots sitting empty?

    1. The desire isn’t an empty spot. It’s the use of the spot when you want to use it. It’s almost a timeshare model without the contracting.

  31. I think the problem resides in not having a more informal labor society. Instead of having to snow shovel your spot, people could offer to do the job for you for a tip, and/or the right to rent out the spot for the next car, like in the old days when you could pay a teen for mowing your lawn. But why can’t that be done? because of excessive labor regulations.

  32. Really, why can I, a private citizen, not buy or lease any spot I like from the owner and customize the meter to charge what I want when I want and allow and disallow parking as I choose?

  33. And depending on what neighborhood you’re in, you might just find your mirror missing or your tire slashed if you still decide to steal the spot.

    Sounds like a violent altercation to me.

    … if you still decide to steal the spot.

    Steal? Who owns the spot?

    No one.

    That’s the whole TOC thing in a nutshell.

  34. Unfortunately, it is often the case — it certainly is in Baltimore — that the locals then have no say in the rules for the permits, forcing neighbors to choose between following regulations and buying gift cards for the mayor.

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