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Smart parking. (www.roboticparking.com)

The Washington Business Journal alerts me to the existence of the National Parking Association (of course) and its annual survey, which lays out how the parking industry is doing in the U.S. and Canada. The answer: Not well, at least in central business districts, hotels, and airports, which have seen less traffic in these here tough economic times. But the more interesting comparisons are those between cities, and WBJ picks out an illustrative number: The average highest daily rate in D.C. is $21.38, which is less than half what you’ll pay in New York City, with San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia not far behind. If you look at highest first-hour prices in central business districts, the spread is pretty similar. In D.C., you’ll pay up to $10.63, but in New York the number is $22.00, in Pittsburgh it’s $12.50, and in Philadelphia it’s $14.00.

Sure, D.C. still beats out the rest of the country—and the entirety of Canada—by far. But the District still has a bit further to go before prices break any records.

Meanwhile, browsing the National Parking Association’s site reminds me of something else New York has that D.C. doesn’t, at least to my knowledge: Parking elevators. District parking garages are often dug very deep underground, but if we really wanted to get rid of surface lots without lessening parking capacity, stacking cars would be a good place to start.