By limiting the time that a vehicle may park in a particular space, meters play a vital role in facilitating traffic management, promoting local businesses, and reducing pollution. Properly priced parking meters encourage greater space turnovers and better availability, making locations served by meters more popular. Before 2009, meter rates at nearly 75% of the parking meters in Chicago remained about the same for more than two decades. Even though rates were increased in Chicago at many parking meters in early 2009, meter rates still have not kept pace with the price of off-street parking (parking in lots is still much more expensive). As a result, the demand for on street parking has been growing at a faster pace than supply. When parking meters are under-priced, they promote cruising for parking spaces. This ultimately leads to increases in congestion, travel times and pollution. Under-priced meters also subsidize automobile use at the cost of public transportation.
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