From the annals of underappreciated phenomena comes . . . parking regulations! Pretty much nobody has any idea what the parking regulations in their town/county/etc. are and nobody gives any real thought to the impact of parking rules on the world. But suffice it to say that, as with any regulatory scheme, a regulatory scheme designed to produce a world where parking is both ubiquitous and extremely cheap actually has enormous costs associated with it.
It seems that a professor named Donald Shoup has written a book called The High Cost of Free Parking spelling these costs out. Rob Goodspeed has an excellent precis.