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The Boston Globe

Opinion

EDWARD L. GLAESER

Boston’s plague of cheap parking

If Friday brings the fierce snowstorm that meteorologists have been predicting, Boston will declare an emergency, leading to a citywide scramble for parking alternatives off snow arteries. The drivers who have to move their cars will be annoyed — especially if they have to pay for pricey space in private garages. But on-street parking shouldn’t be a cheap alternative to off-street parking. Street-level space is far more valuable than concrete-covered spots 200 feet up, and parkers should pay more, not less, for the privilege of being on the ground.

Drivers view off-street and on-street parking in radically different ways, because they emerge from opposite spheres — private and public — that carry different expectations. Parking garages are built at great cost by an entrepreneur. And as the quotation from “The Godfather” goes, “Certainly, he can present a bill for such services. After all, we are not Communists.”

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