James Maiewski: O Tempora! O Mores! For the love of parking

Published: 08-16-2023 3:50 PM

In my day, the elderly were made of sterner stuff than now seems to be the case.

Gone is the bragging of daily hardships lightly born; instead we hear whining about having to walk a few hundred yards to get ice cream— or pharmaceuticals to treat the ill effects of sedentary habits.

“But sometimes it rains! And snow!” Honestly.

We hear apocalyptic comparisons at the slightest reduction in the few square miles of downtown given over to the temporary storage of automobiles — area that could hardly be less productively employed (imagine the rent-controlled or municipal housing that might be). We should eliminate 100% of on-street parking — save that for handicapped, bus, delivery, and perhaps livery spaces. People who prefer the amenities on offer in box store parking lots still have plenty of options.

What’s broken about downtown isn’t the lack of bike lanes, it’s too many cars, going too fast. The very idea that protected lanes are necessary means we’ve thrown in the towel trying to slow them down.

What makes the engineers imagine a single, well-defined lane exactly half as wide as two undefined lanes will be calming? As it is, cars happily travel in the excess of 35 mph when given open road. So, aside from the salutary calming effect of congestion at certain times of day, this proposal makes for more dangerous conditions at every other time.

Yes, I said salutary; congestion is nature’s way of telling us there are too many cars. Every pedestrian, every bicycle, every person on a bus is one less automobile creating problems. Which should we seek to accommodate?

James Maiewski

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