Greater Greater Washington

Parking


Evans would spend millions making parking and traffic worse

Councilmember Jack Evans is trying to repeal almost all proposed tax increases in DC's budget, as expected. On top of that, he wants to spend $5.2 million to make parking cheaper or free in the busiest areas. This may seem like a boon for those who park in these areas, but it's not. Traffic will get worse and it'll become harder to park, not easier.


Photo by Wayan Vota on Flickr.

Evans' Committee on Finance and Revenue voted 3-2 for a committee report which rolls back almost all tax increases in the Mayor's proposed budget, for a cost of $101 million, including the proposed increase in parking garage taxes.

It doesn't recommend ways to find that money in a budget that already decimates social services. Lydia DePillis reports Michael Brown and Marion Barry voted no, meaning Evans, David Catania, and Muriel Bowser must have voted for the recommendations.

Evans' amendments maintain the $1 Circulator fare and restores the ballpark-related community benefits fund. On top of that, Freeman Klopott reported yesterday that they would reduce parking meter rates from $2 to $1 per hour and make meters free after 6:30 pm downtown and in several other neighborhoods, including Georgetown.

Evans apparently feels that letting people who drive downtown for a $50 dinner save $2 on parking is one of the best uses of $5.2 million in this year's very tight budget.

When I go downtown, I usually either take Metro or bikeshare. But occasionally, I'm going to a meeting and then have to hike out to the suburbs afterward for a doctor's appointment or something. In those instances, I'll drive and park for 1-2 hours.

I've actually found it refreshingly non-stressful to do this. On the spaces on F and G streets, I've generally actually been able to find a space without a lot of circling or headache. Paying $4 for the 2 hours to attend a DC Council hearing is a trivial amount, less than the sandwich I might get afterward.

The only time it was annoying was when closing the car door created a breeze which flipped my multispace meter receipt upside-down, and I got a ticket for "P281 FAIL TO DISPLAY MUL SPACE METER." (I paid the ticket and will be more careful next time.)

If Evans lowers the rates, some people will drive and park who weren't doing so now. It's basic economics. More people driving and parking means I'll have a harder time finding a space, and so will everyone who drives and parks downtown on the street today.

It's foolish to spend $5.2 million to make traffic worse and make parking harder.

It's even more foolish to spend $5.2 million to make traffic worse and parking harder when there are so many other budgetary priorities, like keeping homeless people from dying and much more.

There may be some neighborhoods or blocks where the rates are too high. If the spaces are never being filled up, then we're probably charging too much, and it'd be reasonable to lower the rates if they money is available. But Evans' committee report does not base its conclusions on an analysis of parking occupancy. The only such analyses that exist are for the performance parking zones. And having the Council adjust meter rates by legislation during budget season is not the way.

Instead, Evans should create a performance parking zone, empowering DDOT to adjust rates and directing them to set them properly for each block. If DDOT hadn't squandered much of the last few years ignoring its performance parking pilot zones, there might be a stronger case for this today; hopefully the "parking czar" Tommy Wells funded will finally get this program on track.

Klopott also quoted Evans calling those who want parking to be easier and traffic to be lighter "anti-car." Does that mean Evans is "anti-schools," "anti-poor," "anti-police" and "anti-Metro" since he is choosing to spend $5.2 million on this instead of those other things?

He's up for reelection next year, and seems to feel that pandering to the complaints of constituents on this issue is a priority. If you live in Ward 2, please email Evans and complain about something more important than parking meter rates, or email Kwame Brown and ask him to ignore Evans' meter rate and tax suggestions when crafting his budget proposal.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

Comments

Add a comment »

This is one of those stories that just takes your faith away. What is his next bright idea? Taking the bag tax from 5 cents a bag to 2 cents a bag with free bags handed out after 6? Why mess with a success?

by John on May 13, 2011 10:28 am • linkreport

There's a strong argument to keep rates at $2/hour and to charge for parking in high demand areas like georgetown in the evening but downtown is NOT a high demand area in the evening. There are lots of empty spaces in places like farragut or constitution ave in the evening and it doesn't make sense to charge for parking at that time. On Constitution, you'll see all the cars parked just west of 14th ST because it's free in the evenings and vast numbers of empty parking spaces to the east.

Also, the demand for evening parking is pretty significant at 6:30pm but much less so at 9pm. They shouldn't make the meters run until 10pm. 8:30pm would be a more sensible time cutoff.

Parking should be priced at a rate that 90-95% of spaces are used at any given time. Anything less means you're overcharging for parking and wasting valuable space.

by Falls Church on May 13, 2011 10:32 am • linkreport

It's not just about the upcoming election - pandering to those with money, power, and influence is pretty much Jack Evans' raison d'etre at this point.

by Dizzy on May 13, 2011 10:39 am • linkreport

Disgusting isn't it? This is the the Finance and Revenue Committee . The committee is obviously only concerned with revenue for developers. These people Evans Bowser and Catania have offered no substitutes for the needed revenue in the other committees they are on. Catania claims the District is overstaffed but I haven't read of any staff cuts he has proposed in his committee reports.Anyone?

by Dan Maceda on May 13, 2011 10:40 am • linkreport

If DDOT creates a performance parking zone downtown (and they should!), doesn't that mean some of the money will be taken out of the general budget and will be kept for local transportation improvements? I'm not saying I'd be against that outcome, but it would put pressure on the budget in the same way as if the meter rates were reduced.

by Michael Perkins on May 13, 2011 10:43 am • linkreport

Michael: I thought the current zones only dedicated the revenue that came over and above current rates. So then downtown would just get revenue if rates went up overall. Certainly there's no absolute requirement that a performance parking zone dedicate money to local improvements.

by David Alpert on May 13, 2011 10:46 am • linkreport

Evans and fellow committee members who voted for this apparently did not see the poll indicating that DC residents want a balanced approach to the budget shortfall and not a wholesale reduction in services just so parking is cheaper or income rates are minimally lower. Evans's recommendations would just dig a deeper hole for the Council to fill.

by DCster on May 13, 2011 10:50 am • linkreport

Most politicians are rarely versed in basic economics. Or maybe they just choose to ignore it.

by cmc on May 13, 2011 11:00 am • linkreport

They need to do something about handicap sticker enforcement for on street parking spaces. Around lunch time yesterday by the L'Enfant Plaza Metro I walked down Maryland Ave and counted 10 out of 20 spaces with handicap stickers (None with any time on the meter)

I guess everyone was within the four hour limit.

The only ones paying the parking meter were the food trucks

by mcs on May 13, 2011 11:05 am • linkreport

When I need to go downtown I do not consider the expense of parking, only traffic, timing, and hassle. In the past the main issue with $2/hr parking was the need to carry all those quarters. A non-trivial issue was the number of car break-ins by ne'er-do-wells, to steal the meter money people leave in their cars. With the new parking pods (or whatever you call them) the spare-change issues are no longer. Since parking costs roughly $8/hr downtown, the meters there could or should cost at least $5/hr.

Elsewhere of course, the parking should be cheaper. But I do not have much confidence in the "performance parking zones" so often touted here. When you are looking for parking you are long past the point of deciding whether or not to drive, and so the demand will be "inelastic", as some say. Just set the price and be done with it.

Perhaps Mr Evans is not aware of how parking has changed lately. Then again, since he probably never has to deal with it, that is not surprising.

by goldfish on May 13, 2011 11:09 am • linkreport

@Falls Church nails it. End of discussion.

by movement on May 13, 2011 11:10 am • linkreport

Evans apparently feels that letting people who drive downtown for a $50 dinner save $2 on parking is one of the best uses of $5.2 million in this year's very tight budget.

That's funny ... Why the assumption that only people who are driving to downtown for a $50 dinner are paying the extra dollars? I find myself paying them when I drive over to Georgetown for a haircut or for a movie ... And even when I have to go mail a letter at the post office. It's a tax on people who drive a motorized vehicle ... and an unfair tax in that it only applies to people driving a motorized vehicle. We've paid to install over 100 a month bike poles for the last 4 or 5 years ... but we don't charge the users of these poles $2 and hour, do we? And why don't we? These poles aren't free ... nor is the sidewalk space they're taking up. Ditto for the Zip cars parking curbside in their 'reserved' spaces. I'm all for charging everyone what it takes to cover the real costs of providing them a city service, but first lets be sure everyone gets charged and second let's be sure we're not overcharging just so that we can do some wealth redistribution to does nothing but get some councilmembers extra votes. Someone sent me a link the other day that just blew my mind away. Did you know that ALL District employees are eligible for District-subsidized mortgages so that they can buy a home at a lower rate than the rest of us? ... And that many of them get their downpayments paid for for them by us District taxpayers? While most of us struggle to make our mortgage payments and save up for downpayments ... we're also having to pay more in taxes to make these same things 'easier' for District employees. And THESE are the kind of 'social services' which some of our councilmembers are fighting to keep from getting cut. Thank God Mayor Gray has proposed cutting them.

by Lance on May 13, 2011 11:14 am • linkreport

Klopott also quoted Evans calling those who want parking to be easier and traffic to be lighter "anti-car." Does that mean Evans is "anti-schools," "anti-poor," "anti-police" and "anti-Metro" since he is choosing to spend $5.2 million on this instead of those other things?

LOL ... What goes around, comes around

I seem to remember a whole article in the City Paper about your 'antis' ...

by Lance on May 13, 2011 11:20 am • linkreport

I've had a battle going with Jack for a year now trying to get performance parking in Ward 2. From the start it was apparent that he considers free on-street parking for suburbanites pro-business. He told me I needed to get all ANC's to approve on top of hundreds of signatures I had before he would even consider it. And even then he'd have to consider "all stakeholder interests".

Jack and I go back a long way and I've never gotten such defensiveness on any other issue.

Around Dupont/Logan it's impossible day or night for residents to find any spaces while the city loses millions by not charging for parking. To add insult valets are now charging $10 plus tip to park cars on public space, losing even more money for DC.

Jack really doesn't get the parking thing.

by Tom Coumaris on May 13, 2011 11:32 am • linkreport

For years, it's been no secret that Evans wants to run for mayor. This is obvious positioning for that.

by Rich on May 13, 2011 11:34 am • linkreport

@Rich- No way. Jack's last run for mayor was worst political disaster ever. Spent more money than anyone else and got almost no votes.

by Tom Coumaris on May 13, 2011 11:49 am • linkreport

Having heard the flipped-parking-receipt story twice, I'm still wondering why you didn't challenge the ticket with a copy of the paid-for receipt?

by ah on May 13, 2011 12:01 pm • linkreport

ah: I don't think it's a real defense. I am required to pay and also to display the receipt showing I paid. I did one but failed to do the other.

I might have been able to get the ticket overturned anyway if I went down to challenge it, but honestly I have better things to do than spend half a day over $25, and I did screw up.

by David Alpert on May 13, 2011 12:09 pm • linkreport

Lower prices for parking is good for business. However, having the streets crowded with people looking for parking, and people giving up in frustration after not being able to find a space is bad for business.

by Michael Perkins on May 13, 2011 12:17 pm • linkreport

It's disappointing but expected from Evans. He is rigid in his stance against raising taxes to a fault. I'm not sure that he really considers the consequences of these changes, but just opposes tax and fee increases because they are increases. I feel that's irresponsible of a councilmember, especially with a budget that makes drastic social service cuts.

by Jamie Scott on May 13, 2011 12:31 pm • linkreport

@Tom Around Dupont/Logan it's impossible day or night for residents to find any spaces while the city loses millions by not charging for parking.

Residents can/should provide for their own parking/'car storage' needs. I know I moved from a condo to a house so that I could be sure to have available parking when I need it. I ended up buying a house with a garage. Curbside parking should be reserved for those who need the parking the 'one off' time .. such as people coming in to town to go out to dinner. If we, the residents, use that curbside parking for our car storage needs, we're effectively making our city inaccessible to people who want to dine and shop (and go to doctors appointments)in our city. And that puts us at a severe disadvantage to the neighboring jurisdictions where these same diners and shoppers (and doctors' patients) can expect to park for free.

by Lance on May 13, 2011 12:40 pm • linkreport

I don't mind the $2/hour parking rate, IF THAT BLOCK HAS A MULTISPACE METER!! I have a bi-weekly meeting near Judiciary Square where I have to drive to bring all the materials back and forth. All the spaces there have coin-fed meters. Remembering to go by the bank to pick up a $10 roll of quarters every month and having to cart them around is stupid. I support any politician who says that meters are frozen forever at $1/hour until the city can get it's act together and put in a multispace meter. If there's a multispace, price it however you want to - I can still pay easily with a credit card and it's still cheaper than a garage.

by hill_guy on May 13, 2011 12:51 pm • linkreport

@Jamie,

I think it's more a matter of his having to take a real hardline stance just to be able to be able to retain some ground on his position. I mean you have more than a few councilmembers in there who have little business accumen AND rightfully recognize that 'giving the store away' will get them more votes than being fiscally responsible. That's a dangerous combination.

The extra taxes being proposed aren't high. But the problem is you give once with these folks, and they'll want more. And there's no good reason for them to have more. They've been irresponsible with the 'bonus' funding they got from all the high real estate transfer taxes and property taxes that came with the real estate boom. I remember reading something along the lines that from 2004 to 2010 the dollars spent on social services inceased by 60%. Can anyone believe this was really warranted by more people NEEDING help? If they're now being asked to cut that increase back to something like 50% (instead of 60%) they're still a lot better off than before. Especially since the cuts can come from programs such as giving District employees the money for downpayments when they buy a house. The Council has to learn to be fiscally responsible. I for one am glad that Jack Evans is at least trying to teach them this lesson.

by Lance on May 13, 2011 12:55 pm • linkreport

. It's a tax on people who drive a motorized vehicle

Yes. Yes, it is.

and an unfair tax

And that's where you're wrong. It's not unfair. You are paying it voluntarily. You are completely free to simply not use a car if you're unhappy with having to pay a nominal fee for parking. You insist, however, in persisting in this fantasy that you live in a suburb rather than sharing space with 600,000 people and are still carrying around this archaic mindset that showing off your awful, ugly car is somehow a sign of your wealth and professional success. Please stop annoying the rest of us with your petty demands in order to feed your ego. No one likes your car-- if you're whining that you have to pay an extra dollar for parking, then it's clear you didn't need to drive it there and you're just doing it because you're desperately afraid someone will think you're poor if you don't. You're not an oppressed minority chafing under the oppression of an "unfair tax." You're an egocentric, space-wasting cause of traffic and chronic parking shortages.

by JustMe on May 13, 2011 12:55 pm • linkreport

@ Lance

I think parking costs more because it takes up more public space. If we ever get to the point where bikes are taking up that much land, I bet we will see bike parking costing a pretty penny too. Sort of a supply and demand thing.

Also, don't worry about zipcar. They do pay for the street parking they use that is on public space. I don't know how much they pay though--I kind of hope it's a lot!

by Justin DC on May 13, 2011 1:05 pm • linkreport

Thanks Justme for illustrating the depraved, jealous, selfish mindset of at least some of the so-called smartgrowthers who think nothing of demanding a multi-billion streetcar system (for which they'll insist they shouldn't have to pay a fare to ride) but who just want to nickel and dime those inviduals with the smarts to live in the present and not in the past. I'm glad Jack is siding with the folks firmly grounded in the 21st century because this city needs to continue moving into that century and not be kept behind by folks like you who are just looking for a free ride.

by Lance on May 13, 2011 1:05 pm • linkreport

You're an egocentric, space-wasting cause of traffic and chronic parking shortages.

Not everyone who drives to the city is rich and I'd bet that most of them drive to save time, not to show off their car. And, sometimes isn't entirely necessary to drive to the city, if for example you want to stay in the city past midnight on a weekday because metro doesn't run that late.

This anti-car type of thinking and name-calling isn't helping anyone or the city. Clearly the writer has an inability to think of things from any perspective than their own.

by Falls Church on May 13, 2011 1:08 pm • linkreport

@Justin Also, don't worry about zipcar. They do pay for the street parking they use that is on public space. I don't know how much they pay though--I kind of hope it's a lot!

I'm pretty sure they get it for free (or close to free). I was at an ANC meeting some years back where they requested the reserve spaces for free based on the misguided premise that it somehow helps the District to give free parking spaces to a car rental company who'll profit handsomely off the spaces vs. keeping those spaces available for shoppers/diners/etc. who will otherwise just go spend their money where there is more free and available parking.

by Lance on May 13, 2011 1:09 pm • linkreport

@ Lance

Oh, you're right, they used to get it for free (which is crazy!), but they started having to pay for it eventually. Also, a lot of the spaces they bought used to not be legal parking spaces, so they didn't take away much parking (though yeah, it kept from growing more public parking). I'm glad zipcar is paying for the spaces now though cause that space ain't cheap!

by Justin DC on May 13, 2011 1:14 pm • linkreport

I agree Justin. Alternatively, if they didn't want to pay for the space, I do think we should be willing to sell them zoned parking stickers ... and let their renters take their chances with streetcar parking like the rest of us. At least that was my response to 'the people sharing the cars are mainly residents and should get to use the curbside parking too ... even if their only car is a share of these ZipCars ...'. And they're right ... They just shouldn't be entitled to reserved curbside parking. The rest of the residents aren't.

by Lance on May 13, 2011 1:20 pm • linkreport

@JustMecarrying around this archaic mindset that showing off your awful, ugly car is somehow a sign of your wealth and professional success.

And to think, many of you vehemently deny that this group has quite the anti-car disposition.

Archaic...awful..ugly car.

That thing. That car thing.

by HogWash on May 13, 2011 2:00 pm • linkreport

If we, the residents, use that curbside parking for our car storage needs, we're effectively making our city inaccessible to people who want to dine and shop (and go to doctors appointments)in our city. And that puts us at a severe disadvantage to the neighboring jurisdictions where these same diners and shoppers (and doctors' patients) can expect to park for free.

I'm with @Lance: Setting aside the issue of what's the best use of precious limited public space, city services should be reserved for the convenience of non-residents. It's only through cringing subservience to out-of-town interests that we can maintain our position as a "World Class City!"

It's "depraved", "jealous" people like @JustMe who want to ride the trollies for free (!) and live in the past--not "the present"!--by charging folks an extra couple of bucks an hour to park on the street.

Seriously though, it's amazing how controversial a few minor tweaks to parking policy can be. For my part, I don't see why street parking should be cheaper than garage parking. It's arguably more convenient.

by oboe on May 13, 2011 2:05 pm • linkreport

@HogWash:

And to think, many of you vehemently deny that this group has quite the anti-car disposition.

Funny, by your logic, this forum must have a pro-car bias. After all, you're defending the use of the private automobile.

Wait! I think someone over in that other thread made a disparaging comment about streetcars! And to think, many of you vehemently deny that this group has quite the anti-streetcar disposition. :)

One thing we can all agree on is that people love to be victims; and we'll search for confirmation wherever we can.

by oboe on May 13, 2011 2:10 pm • linkreport

"Residents can/should provide for their own parking/'car storage' needs. I know I moved from a condo to a house so that I could be sure to have available parking when I need it. I ended up buying a house with a garage. Curbside parking should be reserved for those who need the parking the 'one off' time .. such as people coming in to town to go out to dinner. If we, the residents, use that curbside parking for our car storage needs, we're effectively making our city inaccessible to people who want to dine and shop (and go to doctors appointments)in our city. And that puts us at a severe disadvantage to the neighboring jurisdictions where these same diners and shoppers (and doctors' patients) can expect to park for free."

Lance, this is crazy. We as DC Residents should be able to park where ever we want, anytime we want-as long as we pay for it. Parking is not a right you purchased with your car. You youself had to buy a house with a garage because you did not like street parking and the chance of it not being there-shortage made you purchase guarenteed parking. I am essentially taxed thrice on pakring, once for my ward sticker, once through regular taxes and once when paying the meter. I'm fine with all three because I don't think Parking should be free. Like any item the less there is, the more it should cost. Your suggestiong out of town folks should pay less for it than I kinda of makes me mad, why? so they won't stay out in Lorton?-I see that clearing up the traffic and parking problems.

Your 2nd point suggesting we show deference to outside communties or they'll take their business (lunch/dinner/haircut/clothes) elsewhere. Car-aaazy. Not coming into the district because Parking is now 5 dollars an hour instead of 4 will keep only the really pissed off out..and I don't want them here anyway.

I sort of disagree with this...Correct me if I'm wrong (I'll gladly accept the correction)..but out of towners who come into DC don't pay less for the parking than someone who lives in town. I live in the city, I pay taxes. Those taxes go towards some road improvements, etc. I also have to pay to park-which I'm fine with-but essentially I'm paying more to use that space...where as an out of towner coming to dine only pays the 2 dollars an hour fee. I have the ability to metro, bus, walk, ride...If I chose to drive I am aware of the fee. Someone up thread suggested that parking is a tax for car related activities, you disagreed and said the entire city should be taxed. I dis

by Whoa_now on May 13, 2011 2:25 pm • linkreport

@Oboe Funny, by your logic, this forum must have a pro-car bias. After all, you're defending the use of the private automobile.

Wait! I think someone over in that other thread made a disparaging comment about streetcars! And to think, many of you vehemently deny that this group has quite the anti-streetcar disposition. :)

Uhm, apples to lucky charms comparison.

This "group" represents the "majority" of the GGW community. And this majority often (not occasionally) has some sort of weird reaction to cars. You know..those things. Those car thingys. So JustMe's ridiculousness is an extension of much of what I see here.

Sure, there are people who are against streetcars. Should everyone fall in love with them? No. Should everyone fall in love w/bikes? No. Cars? No.

Whatever microcosmic amount the anti-streetcar group occupies, it pales in comparison to the anti-car folk. Many thoughts expressed here are made w/the exclusion of cars in mind - not simply offering alternative transportation modes. It is fact that the GGW community rarely (if ever) presents cars as an alternative transportation mode. If ever.

by HogWash on May 13, 2011 2:32 pm • linkreport

@Oboe For my part, I don't see why street parking should be cheaper than garage parking. It's arguably more convenient.

Yes, it's an arguable point. For example, a reserved (and 'covered') garage space is certainly more valuable on a snowy winter day with a 'no parking on main streets' emergency in effect ...

In my mind, the problem with our parking woes is similar to the problem with our health care woes. In both instances, we're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole ... We're using a market mechanism to allocate where the 'payer' and the 'consumer' are not the same person.

Just like you can't expect 'the market' to come into balance for health care costs that don't get paid directly by the same person benefiting from health insurance, you can't expect a 'market rate' to really develop for curbside parking as long as you allow residents to use it to store their cars at no direct cost to them ... but instead, like health care costs, have it paid out of a larger pool. For Health Care costs there is no simple solution since just because you can't pay for health care doesn't mean you shouldn't be entitled to it (in a civilized and compasionate society).

For for parking the solution is quite simple. Use time limits (or whatever other means) to make car storage at curbside impossible, and then (and only then) you'll be able to have a fully functioning market that will properly value the curbside parking spaces as a place for people needing short-term and unscheduled access to places they need to go. My bet is that if you get the residents to stop storing their cars on the city streets, that in most areas of DC there will be enough curbside parking left for their to be no need to even charge for it ... And even in those areas (such as downtown on weekdays) where there'll be a charge it'll be sure to be based on real 'performance parking' criteria ... And not to pay for some other expense such as what is occurring in this instance where as someone mentioned we do indeed have empty streets on Saturdays and evenings in vast swaths of downtown.

by Lance on May 13, 2011 2:39 pm • linkreport

Not everyone who drives to the city is rich and I'd bet that most of them drive to save time, not to show off their car.

That, however, doesn't apply to Lance who doesn't seem to understand that if he doesn't want to pay a couple extra bucks for parking that he can simply do so by not driving his car. He's chafing under the resentment that it's "unfair" for him, a "successful" citizen who is proud of the fact that he has earned the "accomplishment" of driving a car might have to pay more for parking if he insists on taking up space, causing congestion and parking shortages with it. He's consistently self-absorbed and angry that we're not bending over in admiration for the fact that he has managed to buy a car like just about anyone else who nevertheless can make choices about whether or not to use it in a crowded downtown area.

The charges are "fair" Lance, and they are charged to you if, and only if, you want to drive your car. If they upset you so much, then don't drive your car when you don't need to. Lance's whining is unbecoming of a grownup but is rather the bleatings of a child upset that it's not "fair" that he has to pay a nominal charge to park on congested busy streets.

by JustMe on May 13, 2011 2:41 pm • linkreport

@Lance -- show proof that you shared your car with more than two other adults and by doing so you have decreased the total number of cars fighting for spots in the neighorhood and we can talk about reserved parking. By giving up exclusivity, people have gained certainty. It's a trade off.

I think what you hate about Zipcar is that every Zipcar member who could afford to have their own car and chooses not to undercuts your assertion that private car ownership is the only reasonable way to live and therefore deserves priority in society.

by Kate W on May 13, 2011 2:42 pm • linkreport

Should everyone fall in love w/bikes? No. Cars? No.

You are correct. But Lance has fallen all-too-much in love with his car and is crying that he's not being treated specially when he drives it around and shows off how successful he is because he owns a car! Yes, Lance owns a car and everyone should appreciate car owners like Lance and car owners like Lance should never have to pay a couple of extra bucks for parking because that would be unfair to car owners like Lance. Complaining of a few street parking charges in metered spaces a bunch of whining-- he thought that having a car meant he was a "success".

Lance, almost every 16 year old working class and up has a car. A car is a tool. If you don't like the burdens you have to face when using that congestion-causing tool, then seek alternatives. I don't have a problem with cars. I have a problem with people like you who think that your car is somehow something I should be thankful for. If you don't want to pay a fee to park your car, then you don't have to drive it. I'm not going to pay my money for your car. Lance doesn't just want to park his car for free-- he wants us to thank him for it and gets upset when we don't.

by JustMe on May 13, 2011 2:49 pm • linkreport

Again, anyone who engages Lance is wasting their time. If you review his overall posts, he flips arguments and stance, contradicts himself, etc...

Basically, the only consistency here is "what benefits Lance". You can't engage that in honest debate.

by John on May 13, 2011 3:00 pm • linkreport

Unless your personal stance is "whatever hurts Lance", but that would be kind of a weird set of beliefs.

by Michael Perkins on May 13, 2011 3:13 pm • linkreport

"It is fact that the GGW community rarely (if ever) presents cars as an alternative transportation mode. If ever."

Cars cannot be viewed as alternative transportation mode when they are the primary mode of transportation, and the default transportation mode for the last 50 years.

by greent on May 13, 2011 3:41 pm • linkreport

"If the spaces are never being filled up, then we're probably charging too much, and it'd be reasonable to lower the rates if they money is available."

Uh, David? What money has to be available to reduce charges if your revenue stream is already zero. (zero fill time * #hrs in a year = $0)

If you reduce rates in these hypothetically-never-filled spaces, you could only increase, not decrease, your revenue collected.

Beyond that, I agree with mostly everything else. Space has a cost. Occupiers of that space should pay rent to those who own it. Even out in the sticks, where parking is "free" someone's still paying the property tax on that space and including that expense somewhere. It's at the bottom of your milk-jug, or in your order of fries. TANSTAAFL.

by Andrew in DC on May 13, 2011 3:45 pm • linkreport

I just recently an episode of House Hunters International where two men were looking in Singapore. They asked about having a car and were told Singapore (hardly a socialist country) requires that you first purchase a "certificate of entitlement" to own a car. This fee helps partly defray the costs of roads and highways and public health problems from auto pollution. The fee is $100,000 US.

London charges $10 to drive in the center city, much less park. Most European cities ban cars in the center city at least at certain times. Those uber progressive cities of Cairo and Jakarta have just joined the ranks of the banners.

And people think suburbanites are worried about having to pay two bucks?? All the business people I spoke with around here said the more available spaces help customers and that the major complaint was the meters that only take quarters.

In the meantime the lines will start across from my house in a couple hours for the valet parkers for $10. Most of those cars will be parked by the valets on public space or in open street spaces.

DC may be too meek to take the money for parking but the valets sure aren't.

by Tom Coumaris on May 13, 2011 3:55 pm • linkreport

Andrew: If some spaces are going empty, charging less and attracting people to park there would increase revenue, but the price cut would also mean you'd get less from the people who already are parking there, decreasing revenue.

In many cases, cutting the price might increase revenue, but in many cases it might not.

It still could be a good idea, since having spaces go empty means some public space is being underutilized and drawing in more people might mean more customers for businesses, but it's not true that by definition lowering the rates on places that don't fill up will increase total revenue.

I agree with the many comments that if there are times and places where parking is going empty, we should look into reducing rates in those areas. But Evans' approach would also reduce them in the busiest areas at the busiest times, which is bad policy.

by David Alpert on May 13, 2011 4:04 pm • linkreport

@hogwash, review the "about" tab at the top of the GGW site. The aim is "improving the walkable neighborhoods in metro DC". There is a paradox with improving walk-ability and maintaining the dominant status quo car-centric polices of the last 50 years. This is not car-hatred. Its hatred of the policies that doggedly refuse to consider quality of life beyond driving as fast as you can in your SOV, and parking for free. I say its a paradox b/c this advocacy does not mean decreased quality of the car driving experience. In many ways it aims to improve it by reducing volume and congestion and increasing odds of finding a parking spot when you do drive.

by Tina on May 13, 2011 4:16 pm • linkreport

@JustMe, obviously you are referring to Lance's previous posts that I haven't seen. I say this because I didn't read where Lance attempted to "show off" the fact that he has a car and thinks he's above everyone else.

Question: do you think that people here try to "show off" the fact that they have ride bikes instead of cars?

@GreenCars cannot be viewed as alternative transportation mode when they are the primary mode of transportation, and the default transportation mode for the last 50 years.

That's fair. But primary mode for whom? I've never had a car and know many people here who don't. My primary mode of transportation is and has been metro. Do you consider Zipcar a primary mode since it's often touted as a reasonable alternative to owning a car? Or is that convenience?

@Tina I personally think the "hatred" of these policies is TeaParty irrational as if there was a concerted effort to purposely keep bikes off the roads. I also find is troubling that many of you fail to even consider that this country is a work in progress. I am often left w/the impression that you all want DC to be like [insert your fav smartgrowther city here] TODAY. And if it doesn't happen to TODAY, then the fingers start-a-wagging. It's a perpetual ME ME ME attitude based in a world w/o those car thingys.

I mean really, "beyond driving as fast as you can in your SOV" is an example of how irrational you guys are. It reminds me of the response from those upper NW residents who cheered when the guy's hummer was vandalized. Remember in that case, the residents didn't like his big ol truck.

I mean geez people. So much ire against a car? An inanimate object.

by HogWash on May 13, 2011 4:40 pm • linkreport

And to think, many of you vehemently deny that this group has quite the anti-car disposition. Archaic...awful..ugly car.

Hogwash: my car is beautiful and fabulous, but I don't insist that others agree with how awesome it is. I simply don't have the level of social desperation that Lance has to insist everyone love me for it. My car is for my driving pleasure and for commuting to work. It is not something I insist that the rest of the District cater to me for owning, and I am more than happy to pay for parking when necessary and simply don't drive when I don't need to and don't complain when their are charges involved for bringing my car to heavily-trafficked areas.

I didn't read where Lance attempted to "show off" the fact that he has a car and thinks he's above everyone else.

Lance consistently argues that cars are a sign of prosperity and how the presence of increasing numbers of cars are a sign of wealth and technological progress. It's his totem of "success," and he'd consider himself to be poor if he had to walk somewhere.

by JustMe on May 13, 2011 5:11 pm • linkreport

@hogwash - the phrase or meaning driving as fast as you can in your SOV" is not something I made up, though it is my paraphrasing of it. It is the ubiquitous dominant transportation policy in the uS for the last 50 years. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_service

Notice the traditional goal is always LOS A and any variables contributing to quality of life for anything besides LOS A are only considered "recently", and academically, not in DOT's.

Look I'm not going to stoop to patronizing you the way you did me or insulting your ability to reason, as you did me, or name calling-by-reference and simile, as you did me. I expect you know that no status quo ever changes by itself or spontaneously and that making any progress in budging entrenched dominant ways of thinking and doing things requires persistence and agitation.

Really you've expressed far more hatred towards me personally in your comment than I did for the dreaded LOS in my comment directed to you. In it I didn't mention or reference you personally at all. I only directed my comment to you b/c it seemed you weren't really aware of the history and how difficult its been to make the small changes that have been made over many decades.

by Tina on May 13, 2011 5:19 pm • linkreport

@Hog: But [cars are the] primary [transportation] mode for whom?

Seriously? How about the majority of persons in the USA. It is also the primary area of almost all transportation intiatives/policy/planning by local state, regional ornational govt and commissions.

Primary would be primary. So, if the primary way someone moves around is by Zip car... then that would be their primary mode. But I know of no one who does that.

My primary mode is bus. Secondary is bike.

But that would not change the fact that the majority of people in the USA use cars as their primary mode of transport.

But oh goodness, you ask cars and drivers to share one scintilla of the area they currently use, and all of a sudden, you are anti-car. Asking that drivers pay for parking spots = anti-car. Putting in bike lanes on 15th St - a 4 lane car highway thru DC - oh the horor we are anti-car.

And now, Lance suggests we take the parking spaces in front of residents away from those residents (who pay paid (fees and taxes to the city that maintains the public spaces) so non-residents can drive wherever they want and park for free.

I am not anti-car. I am pro-SHARING the limited resources we have. That means that cars (their drivers and Jack Evans) need to learn that we need better transportation policies that share costs and benefits across ALL modes. , Cars are NOT KING - they are not the only mode. Hell, as they are self-centered and self-serving (most are SOV) they shouldn't even be the primary mode.

by greent on May 13, 2011 5:22 pm • linkreport

But oh goodness, you ask cars and drivers to share one scintilla of the area they currently use, and all of a sudden, you are anti-car.

The hegemon always defends its privilege by claiming victimhood. There is nothing more American.

In other words, speed bumps? War on Drivers! Barnes Dance? War on Drivers! Minor increase in parking meter fees? Definitely war on drivers.

:)

by oboe on May 13, 2011 5:37 pm • linkreport

Thank you oboe.

I would also like to point out that though the car is An inanimate object it kills more young people worldwide than AIDS, and if the trend continues cars are expected to be the number five cause of death worldwide by 2035, rising from the current place as 9th biggest killer. The World Health Organization on Wed. launched a world wide campaign to reduce traffic fatalities.

WHO officials estimate that 5 million deaths and 50 million injuries can be prevented over the next 10 years if governments pay attention to the problem.
And
“Road safety is coming out of the shadows today, and it is time,”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health/who-launches-campaign-to-cut-traffic-fatalities/2011/05/11/AFjvUVuG_story.html

Bunch of wild-eyed irrational teapartyers, those epidemiologists at W.H.O.

by Tina on May 13, 2011 5:54 pm • linkreport

Another point that is missed here is that a lot of what is looked for on this and other Smart Growth related sites _is going to happen anyway, regardless_.

Take a look sometime at OECD and OPEC projections on the oil markets. And projections in the energy markets in general. It's actually pretty scary when you dig in. I don't have the link handy, but the OECD I saw shows we are good on oil for decades!

Until you dig in, and you see that the graphs are good due to an increasing line item for "reserves not yet discovered" which conveniently grows over time to match the consumption/demand curve. In other words, it's a fudge factor with no empirical basis.

In a nutshell, supply is flat, demand is growing, and unless we decide to bomb the developing world back into the stone age, this is the reality we live under.

So basically, a lot of us are pressing for change which is inevitable anyway, but in a controlled manner where the damage is minimized. Right now we are debating on the margins to slowly transition to a more balanced multi-modal structure ahead of the demand curve. Because trying to deal with being behind it will be devastating.

by John on May 13, 2011 5:56 pm • linkreport

Screw it, I'm anti-car (I drive everyday). They're incredibly polluting and incredibly dangerous (not to mention very expensive). When the great majority of cars use clean energy sources and can drive themselves I'll consider adjusting my thoughts on bike/transit/ped. infrastructure. Until then, I'll happily work to make people get out of their cars.

by canaan on May 13, 2011 6:55 pm • linkreport

@Whoa-now Your suggestiong out of town folks should pay less for it than I kinda of makes me mad, why?

It's not just 'out of town folk' ... it's you and me too. When you want to go anywhere outside your neighborhood, you should be able to drive there and find parking ... and not find there's no parking because the people living there are use the parking spaces to store their cars. If you want to own a car in this city (or anyplace) it should be your responsibility to have a place to store it in (i.e. to 'garage' it as the correct way of saying it is.) It's one thing to use streetside parking for the one off times you're going somewhere ... and quite another to leave your car there for days on end. When you're at home or at work, you know where you're going to be ... and it should be your responsibility to get your own storage space and not use up the street parking which is needed for people coming to visit you or you going to another part of town ... or, yes, out of towners coming to see you ... or go shopping eating what ever in your neighborhood. It's a simple common sensical thing. You can plan where to park when you're at home or at work, you can't as easily do so when you're 'out and about'.

by Lance on May 13, 2011 7:19 pm • linkreport

Lost in the discussion is that Evans also wants to stop the proposed 50% increase on garage taxes.

And parking spaces were put in residential areas for the explicit purpose of resident car parking. Usually the spot in front of one's own house. Residential parking is as much an equitable property right of use as front yards in the old city which are also public space.

RPP was put in to protect this equitable right when suburbanites starting using free public parking. I wonder if the "I have a garage" crowd would mind suburbanites being able to use their front yards too.

by Tom Coumaris on May 13, 2011 7:26 pm • linkreport

@Lance If you want to own a car in this city (or anyplace) it should be your responsibility to have a place to store it in (i.e. to 'garage' it as the correct way of saying it is.)

This is one of the weirder arguments I've heard. What should people around, say, H Street NE do? That area is one of many in the city full of multi-tenant rowhouses and small 3-4 story apartment buildings without dedicated parking. That's generally not a problem because of ample street parking, given that much of that neighborhood is still primarily residential. There are very few parking garages in that area. Where, pray tell, do all the cars go when there's nowhere within half a mile to put them? Do you force the city to build garages? Do you just hire Nick Cage to steal all their cars until the streets are clear?

by HooShotYa on May 13, 2011 9:03 pm • linkreport

You see, and now we have a perfect example of what I'm speaking of about Lance. Mr. Anti-car, bastion of personal automotive freedom (or better, "free-dumb")...the veritable lord of the "neighborhood control" stemwinder...the man who trots out "but what about the disabled, elderly, and poor" stemwinder...the guy who whines about impact to familes...

...amusingly just proposed a policy more radically anti-car, screw the locals, f'over the disabled, elderly, poor, and families policy than anyone here has ever hinted at. In one fell swoop, using his previous arguments he has managed to...

1. Equivocate neighborhood residents parking rights to anyone else's, violating his historical position on who should have most authority.

2. Insist that anyone who wants to own a car in the city must have enough cash to have off street parking for it. This violates his usual hypocritical concern for how auto policy hits the poor, disabled, elderly, and families. Excepting pretty well off ones.

If yer lower income, yer outta luck. Elderly on a fixed income, and can't handle transit...f'off! Disabled and the same? Bite me! Middle to lower income family needing/multiple vehicles? Tough luck!

Lance has just proposed the greatest anti-car policy to drive residents to alternative modes ever suggested here...but one which greatly benefits him! Which is really all that matters to him.

If you don;t understand what a waste of time he is, you really should now.

by John on May 13, 2011 10:15 pm • linkreport

"but the price cut would also mean you'd get less from the people who already are parking there, decreasing revenue."

Ahh, see now you're changing the rules on me. You stated these spots were "never" parked in. Even accounting for natural hyperbole, I took this to mean "relatively rarely" (10% or less of chargable time). Reducing rates, then, would almost certainly raise revenue, rather than reduce it - especially if the rate change was visible/advertised.

" But Evans' approach would also reduce them in the busiest areas at the busiest times, which is bad policy."

Which is why I also said I agreed with most of your points. I just thought you overreached on that one. Which you've now retreated from. So .. then good. We're done here. :)

by Andrew in DC on May 13, 2011 11:27 pm • linkreport

@John, Setting the stage such that the dynamics are in place to allow free choice of one's means of transportation is not at all the same as subsidizing your prefered means to the point of making it mnore costly in the end. But it doesn't sound like you're willing to even try to understand the difference. So I won't bother trying to explain it to you. Btw, are you friends with JustMe ... who similarly twists words to his/her own preconceptions rather than trying to understand them.

by Lance on May 13, 2011 11:35 pm • linkreport

Andrew: What I wrote was that they're never being filled up. I can see how that could be read as "never being parked in," but I meant "it's never the case that 100% of the spaces in that area are all parked in at the same time."

Sounds like we agree. Great!

by David Alpert on May 14, 2011 8:45 am • linkreport

@Lance: Sadly, it sounds to me like that John has a point. You did say, "For for parking the solution is quite simple. Use time limits (or whatever other means) to make car storage at curbside impossible, and then (and only then) you'll be able to have a fully functioning market that will properly value the curbside parking spaces as a place for people needing short-term and unscheduled access to places they need to go."

So, you're advocating making it impossible to store a car curbside, which means you'd require everyone who needs to store a car overnight to use off-street parking. But making the purchase of off-street parking mandatory for all vehicle owners would create an additional demand for off-street spaces far faster than we could expand the supply. This would increase the price of off-street parking, which is already out of the price range of the poor and working class, so that it's out of the price range of all but a wealthy elite.

But do you know who would love this proposal? I mean, adore it? Zipcar. Think about it -- Zipcars can park in their designated spaces overnight. People who formerly owned cars but can't afford to purchase off-street parking at the new stratospheric prices would flock to Zipcar in droves. I sure would. Are you sure you're not really a Zipcar corporate shill? Or maybe you're an agent of WABA; a lot of people would give up on automobiles altogether and switch to bicycles. Anyone who worries about a "war on drivers" now should love seeing what DC look like when bicyclists reach numerical parity with motorists.

I appreciate your goal of ensuring that people who want a short-term parking space can find one, but while mandating that residents purchase off-street parking might accomplish that goal it would generate far more problems than it solves.

by cminus on May 14, 2011 10:25 am • linkreport

What Lance is describing is how street parking laws work in Brookline, Massachusetts: you can't park your car curbside overnight.

Cities, for obvious reasons, generally feel that it's not an efficient use of their space to have people invest mass amounts of money in off-street parking, because that crowds out other residential and commercial uses of the space in favor of parking lots and parking garages.

by Tyro on May 14, 2011 11:12 am • linkreport

@cminus, Things don't happen in a vacuum. If you start requiring that car storage be bought and not paid for at the taxpayer's expense, I think you'll find a proliferation of garage building throughout the city. For example, developers putting up new buildings will suddenly see an opportunity to increase the garage space they'd planned for rather than just do what the law mandates. That new construction will in turn over the medium and long term bring down the cost of car storage. And we'll have both sufficient car storage facilities and suficient short term parking at curbside available. We'll be on even par with the suburbs ... who have been using this model now for at least a half century.

Think of it this way. When you go out to the suburbs, do you see people storing their cars in the shopping center parking lots or the mall garages? No, you see those being used simply for people's access to these places ... not for storage purposes. It works because the shopping centers and the malls enforce restrictions that prevent people from storing their cars there. This is the case even in areas such as (for example) Bethesda where parking your car at home can be like in DC ... i.e., where you may need to have a reserved spot in either your condo building or your apartment complex. People there just know to provide for their own car storage needs because there isn't any alternative. And I don't see that driving lots of people to having to make do without a car. And I don't see them paying more for parking than we do. On the contary, they pay less ... far less.

The problem here is that 'residential street parking' (i.e.. storing your car on the street) confuses the market. Everyone, including the developers putting in new buildings or rehabbing old ones, view the available residential street parking as an infinite resourse available for everyone to share in. And as long as it's 'free' (or essentially free at $20 per year) that impediment which keeps the market from functioning properly will continue. Everyone thinks they'll be the lucky ones to get that very limited parking which they've already paid for via the $20 sticker and their property taxes. The true situation though is that there simply isn't enough of it to allow everyone to store their cars streetside. And yet, because the market to build more garages gets a false signal, the supply of new garages that would be needed, never occurs. Hence we end up in a situation where garage parking is expensive, and the pool of available curbside residential parking spaces stays the same while the demand for it increases.

So ... you could say that on a certain level, I am in agreement with the performance parking folks who say that people should pay for the parking they use. BUT I am in disagreement with them on a very basic fundamental level. While I think people should pay for what they use, I also think the market should be allowed to function so that it provides this car storage to them at a reasonable (i.e., 'cheap') rate. The performance parking folks just want to allocate what's already there ... and allocate it out on the basis of ability to pay. I.e., If you're wealthy, you'll always be able to drive AND PARK whereever you want to go. And if you're not, well have fun taking the bus or the Metro or hoofing it or biking it. I.e., The performance parking folks want to create two classes of transportation ... separated out by ability to pay. They are pessimists in that they view the supply of available parking as static.

I'm an optimist and recognize that if you let the market function without the illusory FREE 'Residential Parking' to throw off the market triggers, the market will end up supplying enough off street parking at a reasonable price so that people do have places to store their cars off street AND do find cheap and abundant parking at curbside when they need to use their cars to go about their business ... just as has happened in the suburbs.

by Lance on May 14, 2011 11:32 am • linkreport

@Tryo, I'd like to hear more about the Brookline parking model if you have more information on it. Thanks.

by Lance on May 14, 2011 11:43 am • linkreport

Lance: Brookline,MA parking laws.

Short version: no parking on the street between 2am and 6am.

It's not as dense as many parts of DC, of course, and it's heavily residential, so those spots mostly go unused, but that's the way the town wants it.

by Tyro on May 14, 2011 12:22 pm • linkreport

Thank you, Jack Evans!

This city cannot keep nickel and diming its residents! If you would like to pay more in taxes, more in meters, and more in everything else, why don't you fools just write a blank check to the DC government.

Evans for Mayor!

by redrocks on May 14, 2011 12:26 pm • linkreport

Sweet Baby Jesus. Can we have some form of empathy for each other here?

I'm a city resident. Have been for fifteen years.

I own a business that requires frequent trips by car. I'm in property management, which means I'm going to Home Depot or various properties probably four or five times a day.

It would be pretty much impossible for me to operate my business using only public transit. In some instances that would require me spending probably four or more hours a day on transit. And how exactly am I supposed to get that drywall from Home Depot on the metro?

I don't have offstreet parking.

What a lot of folks forget is that when you register a vehicle in DC you pay around 8% of the value of your vehicle to the DC government. Say your vehicle is worth $30000. That means you are paying the DC government about $2500, right off the bat. Plus annual car registration fees.

So the idea that car owners aren't paying for parking and road maintenance isn't really factual.

There are plenty of other people that have jobs or personal lives that require a car. Some people are expected to travel to multiple work locations in a day. That's simply not feasible by public transit, particularly for facilities out in the burbs (yes, a good many people live in DC but work at various suburban facilities).

And many people with families rely on cars, for huge shopping trips, for trips to the doctor, for various activities that their kids are involved in, etc.

We can't all be 24 and single with no kids and have no house maintenance and live and work three blocks from a metro in a job that requires just going empty handed to one location near a metro stop and have the entireity of of shopping done at Whole Foods, two blocks from our house.

At the same time, I support transit and bike lanes, as it makes sense for a lot of people, for the environment, etc.

Can we not encourage public transit while still acknowledging that as of yet we simply can't get rid of cars entirely?

Some of us that drive cars don't do it because we are showing off or trying to somehow be selfish or elitist or we hate the environment.

Some of us do it because we have to support our families.

by Hillman on May 14, 2011 12:56 pm • linkreport

@Lance, comparing DC and the suburbs is comparing apples and oranges. Land in the suburbs is significantly cheaper, and density is lower. So in any given unit of space, the typical suburb has fewer people trying to store a car than DC does, more land available to set aside for parking, and the cost of that land is much lower. DC has much less land available, and that land costs more. In those suburbs where land costs and density are closer to comparable -- say, Alexandria -- you get lots of residents parking on the street overnight and sporting residential parking stickers.

Right now, we don't see that many private parking garages in DC because of the price of land and the fact that parking garages are a low-margin business in the best of cases. If you're going to depend upon the market to supply off-street parking for all residents, you're going to see a huge spike in prices even after they build all the garages, because the developers will need to amortize the cost of their capital after they outbid more profitable uses for the land (residential, office). And that assumes they don't take advantage of a mandatory market to jack up their prices and enjoy the windfall profits. And, of course, we can expect to see a lot less residential development, as land gets taken for parking instead.

by cminus on May 14, 2011 12:57 pm • linkreport

The lack of residential parking is what causes people to concrete over their backyards for parking pads. That's a big problem environmentally for DC and the surface water collection costs are bankrupting the city. WASA already puts a small fee on water bills of homes with concrete pads, but it doesn't come close to paying for the costs.

Forcing homeowners who have to own a car, however little they use it, to concrete backyards so that free parking can be available for suburbanites is just a real lose, lose deal.

by Tom Coumaris on May 14, 2011 1:31 pm • linkreport

@Tom, It's not 'just for suburbanites'. Think how often you find yourself driving out to the suburbs that you'd otherwise buy here in DC ... if only you could actually park there! I can see the difference already with places like Harris Tester where its easy to park. I personally do more shopping in the District now that there are more opportunities to park. But we've still a long ways to go before we get to the convenience level the suburbs have. Ever try to find parking to go to a doctors appointment downtown?

by Lance on May 14, 2011 2:10 pm • linkreport

@Hillman:

It would be pretty much impossible for me to operate my business using only public transit. In some instances that would require me spending probably four or more hours a day on transit. And how exactly am I supposed to get that drywall from Home Depot on the metro?

I don't have offstreet parking.

You say all this as though it were some sort of conundrum. But here's the solution: Having parking sounds like it's a prerequisite for your livelihood. If free on-street parking went away, it sounds like the solution would then be that you would pay for off-street parking.

If the issue is that commercial vehicles would need access to on-street parking, then make that an exemption--something that commercial enterprises would pay for.

I think it's a bit transparent that folks who just like free, ubiquitous on-street parking always hide behind the existence of commercial vehicles.

"You need to let me drive my car for free, park for free, and you must never increase opportunities for pedestrians or cyclists. You must cater to the privately owned automobile in every city policy...otherwise, how will FedEx ever deliver your packages."

It's silly.

by oboe on May 14, 2011 9:01 pm • linkreport

Oboe:

I never asked for free parking. And I don't get it. I pay vehicle registration fees every year, and I paid $3000 in vehicle tax just two years ago.

And off street parking isn't always available for everyone.

But my comments really went to the whole question of can we have a careless society. The answer is currently no.

by Hillman on May 14, 2011 11:08 pm • linkreport

Oboe:

My post clearly stated that I support transit and bike options.

I don't complain about others who are fortunate enough to live car free.

But since we are talking about "free", I guarantee you I pay more in city taxes, fees, and the like for my car than any cyclist in DC ever has. And clearly the city has to subsidize mass transit to make it affordable for city users.

So I'm not sure the idea that car owners in DC are getting over on everyone else is really a strong argument.

by hillman on May 14, 2011 11:18 pm • linkreport

This is a great idea! I never eat in DC b/c of the crazy meter people. It's too easy to get a ticket for parking on the street and lots are exorbitant, $20 and up for an evening, compared to free parking at almost all NOVA restaurants. Now maybe I can take my business to DC for a change.

by VA Commuter on May 15, 2011 12:23 am • linkreport

@Hillman I never asked for free parking. And I don't get it. I pay vehicle registration fees every year, and I paid $3000 in vehicle tax just two years ago.

Parking spaces in the city go for $40,000 or more. Given that the District has to pay for road construction and maintenance, sidewalk construction and maintenance, administrative and planning costs for DDOT employees, etc., etc. ... how much of your fees and sales tax do you think are left to be applied toward paying for that $40,000-value space? No, you're getting free parking when you park curbside ... don't try to convince yourself otherwise.

by Lance on May 15, 2011 9:30 am • linkreport

Lance, your comparison ignores the fact that van off street space is a guaranteed space. As such, by definition it is worth a lot more than just a chance at a street space. And you pay for a private space just once, not every time you register a different vehicle. Very few people would pay tens of thousands for an off street space if literally thousands of neighbors were free to use the space, as is the case with street parking..

Also, the road costs you speak of are going to be there whether I have a car or not. You can't really remove the roads and sidewalks. Also, of course cyclistsvand transit riders use sidewalks and roads also. And I'd argue they pay nothing directly toward their upkeep, unlike the thousands I pay every few years.

by Hillman on May 15, 2011 1:16 pm • linkreport

Lance, your own front yard is owned by the city. We don't pay anything to use our front yards and we're not even taxed on their value.

Residential parking is analogous. It's public space planned for the use of the property residents. Sidewalks and streets are planned for everyone's use, but not front yards and residential parking.

by Tom Coumaris on May 15, 2011 3:19 pm • linkreport

It's too easy to get a ticket for parking on the street

What? Not at all-- in fact it's very easy not to get a ticket: just put the right amount of money in the meter or buy enough time at the parking kiosk until 9:30 or 10pm. Then-- magic! No parking ticket when you go out to dinner. Alternately, take the metro into town. This isn't exactly rocket science, especially in the evening.

by Tyro on May 16, 2011 4:13 am • linkreport

@Hillman -- don't forget you also pay 41.9¢ tax on the gas you buy in DC.

by goldfish on May 16, 2011 10:32 am • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

or

Support Us