FREAK Shots: Not Everyone Likes Free Parking

Blog reader Paul Gorbould emailed us this photo from a parking lot at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada:


Gorbould understands the good intent of the spots:

The site was recently declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, and it appears to have taken the designation to heart.

I’ve never seen a parking designation like this before — and of course, the spots (there were several) were empty. In fact, I saw no “alternative fuel vehicles” for a hundred miles in any direction. … Still, no harm in being proactive I suppose, even if the spots closest to the entrance remain empty for a few years.

Many cities, like Albuquerque, offer free parking to drivers of “hybrid, alternative-fuel, or fuel-efficient” cars. Businesses have also followed suit, reports USA Today.

But drivers of gas-only cars get annoyed, reports the USA Today article, when hybrid drivers take up the best parking spots all day, for free.

In some cases, hybrid-vehicle parking and driving incentives become counterproductive, reports The Washington Post: carpool-lane privileges for hybrid drivers, for example, have helped to clog those lanes.

Los Angeles is thinking about taking back its free parking, as concerns about the city’s budget deficit mount.

At Fossil Cliffs, the most the alternative-fuel spaces are doing is taking up space, but if gas prices stay low, they may continue to do so for an annoyingly long time.

(Send your FREAK-worthy photos here.)


Yeah, you know, forget what I said.

The best thing to do is work out a perfect solution that is equally fair to everyone and accounts for all variances, discrepancies and anomalies perfectly.

Of course that's probably impossible and we'll all be dead by then, but hey.


They offer front row parking spots, at Boston Logan's E Terminal (Arrivals are) for Hybrid cars (I don't recall the exact term). My daughter drives a 2003 Golf Jetta, and I a 2005 Mini, yet neither of those fit into the specific category defined by the parking lot. These spaces are adjacent to the spaces allotted to the Disabled Parking slots. I don't get it. BTW, when I left on Thursday (1-15-2009) ALL those spaces were empty!


Anyone who says "hybrids are allowed to do XXX" or "hybrids get preferential treatement XXX" need to specify what jurisdiction they're referring to, and exactly what definition of "hybrid" (or "alternative fuel vehicle") they are talking about.

Those complaining about solo-in-HOV and free-parking-in-LA privileges can be reassured that those privileges were given only to vehicles that exceeded 45mpg average (so the 20mpg Tahoe Hybrids get no joy), and the number of stickers was strictly limited at 85k (long since all gone). And they did studies that indicated that those 85k solo drivers didn't clog up the lanes, as much as others tried to spin it.

I don't know exactly how the rules in Phoenix, Boston, or DC work; but if you look a bit closer, most places have tried (at least slightly) to pay attention to the effects of the technology, not just the technology itself.

Please do a bit of reading before ascribing bad behaviors / undue government favor to "hybrids". There's a reason that GM splashes the logo hugely across the sides of the Hybrid Tahoe, while Toyota just puts a little badge on the Camry Hybrid.



Good urban planning dictates that each new building have adequate parking. For every new eco-based parking space that is reserved and goes unused (mostly if not totally, compared to unrestricted spaces), there is a 100% waste of land, petroleum-based asphalt, stormwater runoff and a host of other non-friendly impacts on the environment. Not to mention that an Escalade carrying four passengers pakred next to a Prius carrying one is a far more energy-efficient vehicle measured in terms of passenger-mile per gallon, not simply miles per gallon.


I wonder if anyone has started HOV parking yet. LOL