Always interesting economist Tyler Cowen has a story in the NY Times discussing the “cost” of free parking. It’s based on the book The High Cost of Free Parking, which spent an astounding 733 pages to delve into the subject. The book suggests that “free parking” cost people in the US at least $127 billion in 2002. I haven’t read the book — and at that page length I’m sure there’s a detailed discussion on nearly every challenge — but I do wonder if it takes into account the benefits to local businesses of free parking. The easier it is to park, the more likely people are to go to those businesses. I’m guessing that the response is that if this does make sense, it should be a per-business decision, rather than a government-mandated one, which is the main complaint. This isn’t a subject I’ve thought much about, frankly, but I found Cowen’s discussion of it interesting, and thought people around here might have some… enlightening comments on the subject.