Brian Nicholson, OKespaÑol
Kassandra Metos uses an electronic parking meter to pay to park in front of Harmon's in Salt Lake City. A Harvard professor believes parking rates should be higher.

City parking rates should be more expensive, said Edward L. Glaeser, an economics professor at Harvard, in an opinion article in The Boston Globe.

Glaeser considers cheap parking a plague of Boston. The low costs rob people of the time they spend circling streets to find the cheapest, or any, parking spot in the overcrowded auto jungle.

“When public policy underprices things, as the Soviet Union once underpriced groceries, the result is long lines and shortages,” Glaeser wrote in his article. “People pay with their time, instead of their money.”

A UCLA transportation expert, Donald Shoup, said rates should be high enough to create an 85 percent occupancy rate. This would leave enough turnover to create an empty spot every block.

But this cost Glaeser is encouraging is no small raise. He said it should cover the cost of building a parking spot, which he estimates at $30,000. He suggests the money that comes from raising these prices be used to provide better bike lanes and bus systems to help those who would no longer be able to afford parking as a traveling option.