Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No Free Market for Street Space

Check out this article on Parklets in San Francisco and how they are addressing a priorly unsatisfied demand for pedestrian seating and amenities in the city: CLICK. Parklets are former parallel parking spots which have been converted into outdoor seating areas, usually in front of businesses but open to the public. The first parklet in the city was built a little over a year ago in front of Mojo Bicycle Cafe on Divisadero, but several more have been sprouting up lately.

The article implicitly raises important questions about the typical lack of a free market in street space. Cars get almost all the space (with some scraps left for sidewalks and maybe a bike lane on a few streets), yet all taxpayers chip in for the cost of the streets. If the streets were up for auction, or if street users had to pay the full cost for their use (e.g.: VMT tax), would our streets look the same?

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