Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Out with Parking Spaces, In with More Bus Lanes and Bike Lanes

It's about F&#$in' time!!!

In Seattle, hundreds of parking spaces have been eliminated to make way for more bike lanes, right turn lanes, new streetcar lines and more bus lanes.  This trend is expected to increase over the coming years, with God knows how many hundreds of parking spaces being eliminated.


I sympathize with longtime residents whose friends — or care-givers, for that matter — will no longer be able to stop and pick them up in front of their home.  And that quick errand to the dry cleaner or the mini-mart will probably go the way of the Model T.  But these changes need to happen.

And this isn't happening only in progressive trendy cities like Seattle.  Even Houston now has a protected bike-way that runs through the entire downtown.  Houston!?!  The last time I was in Houston — about fifteen years ago — it was so sprawled-out and car-centric, it made Los Angeles look pedestrian-friendly.

For generations we've been brainwashed into thinking that freeways, millions of downtown parking spaces, parking lots the size of Luxembourg (with free parking for employees and customers) — are all simply the result of the invisible hand of the marketplace.  The chips just happened to fall where they fell.  Mass transit, on the other hand, is nothing but a huge bloated nanny-state giveaway to those parasites who can't afford a car.

A vice president of People For Bikes cuts through the above “conventional wisdom” with:

“Parking is really an inefficient use of public space when you think about it rationally, logically, without emotion. You’re storing a personal item in the public right of way.” 

And this trend is not “anti-business.”  According to the business-funded group Commute Seattle, downtown parking garages are suffering from a 40% vacancy rate.  Their executive director said:  “Property managers are looking at this as an opportunity, by increasing the occupancy rates in the garages.”

And a new company called Zirx is offering a valet service in the area near Amazon's newest headquarters.  While you're circling endlessly for a parking space — white knuckles clutching the steering wheel, steam coming out of your ears — a Zirx valet will take your car to a nearby garage.  The Zirx company slogan is “Never Park Again.”

 Now THERE is the invisible hand of the marketplace.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno everything I see one of these plans, I think it's great if you have to commute down there but bad if you have to live there. That means the Commuters can Bus or Bike downtown to work and then the same way home.

Living down there means now to shop you have to haul your own bags (I heard Washington banned plastic just like California) and then walk to a bus stop and then haul a limited amount home the same way. Not the same way when you had a car and could park it.

It also changes the nature of the businesses as they tend to cater to the commuter then shut down when they're gone leaving the residents high and dry!

There's good and bad to that! All I know is, whenever I see a City doing that, I never shop there again!


February 16, 2015 at 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great now I can take granny to the doctors on my moped

February 17, 2015 at 6:48 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: True, there are a lot of individual short-term inconveniences like you're describing. Most of these changes will be natural and gradual: fewer millennials are buying cars or even getting a driver's license; newer communities are being better planned ("Smart Growth") so that transit hubs, housing, shopping and employers are all closer together; etc.

But there are sure to be some "hiccups" in the meantime (remember when Dumbya described the thousands of Iraq war deaths as just a "hiccup" on the long road to Freedom).

Anonymous: Yes. This is a perfect example of thinking outside the box and adapting to the constant changes. And those moped rides should be good for granny's balance and overall somatic awareness, and she won't need to go to the doctor as often :)

February 17, 2015 at 10:34 AM  

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