Many Metra parking lots in suburban Cook County can be profitably replaced by multiple-use structures that offer parking, retail, and/or housing, argues the Center for Neighborhood Technology in its recent publication, “Paved Over: Surface Parking Lots or Opportunities for Tax-Generating Sustainable Development?” Info here, full PDF here, Tribune coverage here.

It turns out that their project is constrained by federal law–no such project can reduce the number of existing parking spaces!  “Metra is required to follow a 100-percent parking replacement policy for spaces that have ever received federal funding.”

When I read that, I remembered that until 1998, the federal government had the same policy for public housing. Parking places now officially outrank poor people.