Like many other Cambridge residents, we recently had to renew our parking permit. Yes, we get a parking permit, but it’s a temporary pass which we let visitors use, since our condo has only residential street parking available.
This year the rates went up to $20, which is no problem. I’m happy to pay for the privilege of having visitors park near my home, and I think the City of Cambridge should be compensated for the fact that my visitors are bringing a car into the city.
But there’s one small problem. Residents who are parking a car in Cambridge all the time also pay $20 for a parking pass. Not only do car owners pay the same amount that we do as a carfree family, but they get a visitor parking pass for thrown in for free!
Don’t get me wrong. I know that lots of Cambridge residents need their cars, and need someplace to park them. But those cars use space and city resources, and they create pollution that the city must cope with. Car owners should compensate the city fairly for the benefit of parking a car on the street every single day of the year. I honestly don’t know what that fair compensation should be, but I’m quite confident it should be more than the compensation I provide the city for the few days a year in which I have a visitor with a car parked on the street.
If you are a Cambridge resident, consider dropping a line to one of our fine city councilors letting them know that we should be encouraging people to reduce car dependence, and that car owners should pay more for their parking passes than the carfree. And with that off my chest, maybe I’ll start trying to figure out why people who buy brand new electric vehicles get a tax credit, but I don’t get anything for not buying a car at all.