Greater Greater Washington

Press


Transportation birtherism runs rampant this week

Are changes to parking policy a "war on cars" or a scheme to "force people out of their cars"? That's about as preposterous as saying President Obama wasn't born in Hawaii, but both claims grow from some real underlying angst in parts of the populace.


Photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr.

In national politics, the 2008 election created a lot of trepidation among some segments of the American populace, about a black president, expanding the role of government, or secularism. Some people capitalized on the fear not by debating the policies but by escalating silly conspiracy theories that advanced some groups' side agenda.

Our local analogue is the "war on cars" meme. The District is experiencing a tectonic demographic shift, especially in age, as many millennials and generation Xers want to live in walkable, urban neighborhoods, buy houses and often raise families in a way relatively rare the generation before.

Newcomers are also more likely to be white than the longtime resident populace, though many of the newer black residents I've talked to have very similar visions and desires for the city and their communities as a lot of white residents.

This shift means that we have different groups of residents who have different ideas about how and whether the District should grow, or what our policies should be on transportation and economic development.

A healthy civic discourse includes debates over this. But it's not constructive when the conversation focuses on conspiracy theories about people's motivations, like the recurrent theme that a new policy is an effort to "force people out of cars." It's especially damaging when people pin this motivation on a policy that sustainable transportation advocates don't even like.

Tim Craig's Washington Post article this weekend, about parking and bike lanes, fanned these flames. The headline said new parking rules are intended to "discourage driving," and led off with a quote from Councilmember Jim Graham: "That is the sign of the future, that discourages car ownership."

It's not clear in what context Graham said this, but the article mainly talks about a program, which Graham pushed, to reserve parking on one side of every street for residents. It makes it sound like this program is part of the so-called "war on cars," and paired with Graham's quote, some bike lane discussion, and other talk about the growing numbers of residents, certainly gave the impression that this was another one of those ideas from the bike lane and coffee shop set.

It wasn't. This one side of the street thing is very simple: it's a political play. Graham's base is residents, not visitors and not employees of businesses. He saw an opportunity to give something to his voters, and he did. That would have been a far better frame for the story, especially from one of the Post's political reporters.

I didn't like this policy when it came up 2½ years ago, and you'd be hard pressed to find any kind of transit or bicycling advocate who was pushing this. It's not necessarily all bad; it basically reallocates limited street space from one group of drivers to another, and that has pros and cons.

But Craig's article certainly pressed on a nerve for the Post's suburban readers, a lot like his 2009 article that made our "10 worst mainstream articles of 2009" list. That, too, played to suburban commuters' fears of a District less deferential to their needs but in a way that likewise really misrepresented the situation; there, a Bethesda resident was complaining about getting a ticket for parking in rush hour lanes, but the people who benefit from those rush hour lanes are primarily the suburban drivers.

Gary Imhoff sees Craig's article as more proof the hipsters are trying to run everyone else out of the city. In a piece entitled "one size fits all," He wrote,

These are people who see their lifestyle, their current lifestyle, as the normal, natural way that everyone should live, and are scornful of anyone who would actually buy provisions for an entire family.
The first commenter, "DC," on the City Paper's bit about it pointed out that it's Imhoff, not any young residents, who seem to want a "one size fits all solution."

Few newer residents care how people from a different generation in a different neighborhood live. Honestly, most hardly give it a second thought. They just want to have some places to live that fit their budgets and are near jobs or transit, and want neighborhood amenities like shops, restaurants, and parks.

The only reason this would be at all threatening to anyone else is because when there weren't so many people in DC, and when a lot of people didn't walk and bicycle from place to place, drivers could have lots of spaces to park and the roads to themselves to drive more quickly.

To sum up, we have a scenario where new people are coming in, don't actually want to remove any amenities from any existing residents, but the very fact of their existence threatens some people economically. Some people respond by latching onto conspiracy theories and forming extreme groups that claim to be for freedom but actually want government rules that maintain the status quo.

Hm, this sounds eerily familiar to some patterns in our national politics over the last 4 years. A letter writer to the Current back in April even said that her dislike of the zoning update (which is actually mostly suggesting loosening some regulations) made her feel kinship with the Tea Party.

It's worth noting who, in Craig's article, most steadfastly refused to pander to any anti-bicycle, anti-transit, or anti-walking sentiment: Pedro Rebeiro, Mayor Gray's spokesperson. No matter how much tumult there's been over bike lanes, the administration has never given it credence.

Commentators would do well to listen to the mayor and stop tolerating transportation birtherism. I have absolutely no objection to everyone who uses a car today continuing to use it just as much as before. New residents are free to make their own choices as well about their transportation modes. Almost nobody wants to force anyone out of any cars.

This is about giving people more choices, strengthening the quality and availability of non-auto modes which our society neglected for many decades, and finding ways to welcome new people in our city, in a way that respects and includes existing residents of all colors and incomes, instead of trying to fight newcomers off or distract from the real issue with silly conspiracy theories.

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 »

'Zactly. People should be able to use whatever form of transportation meets their needs and that they can afford. Transporation planners and city planners, however, need to look at what the needs are for various modes, and how scarce public dollars can be allocated in ways that meet those needs. That includes policies that will shape, not just reflect, future demand.

The market is showing that so far the City has been betting correctly on the mix of car, mass transit, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Walkable neighborhoods are hot right now and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

by Crickey7 on Nov 29, 2012 2:17 pm • linkreport

The first commenter, "DC," on the City Paper's blurb about it pointed out that it's Imhoff, not any young residents, who seem to want a "one size fits all solution."

Exactly,

Though I'll feed the conspiracy theorists fears. I want to see people driving less. The issue however is that its so hard to create meaningful pedestrian/cyclist infrastructure but much easier to come up with explicitly anti-car laws and regulations that also get people to stop driving so much.

And there is the resources issue. Cars take up a lot of space and DC has a finite amount of space they can dedicate to transportation. It's apparently at or near the breaking point to fit cars in so the city has to appeal to something else in order to remain viable. Naturally that will be policies that relatively benefit non-motorists more than motorists. But motorists still have the momentum by far.

by drumz on Nov 29, 2012 2:22 pm • linkreport

So - did the WaPo quote Jim Graham radically out of context, or did Jim Graham mistate what the parking changes are about? And if CM Graham did so, was it because he misunderstood what was going on, or was trying to make a grab for the interests of his (car owning) constituents look more like ideological urbanism?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 29, 2012 2:25 pm • linkreport

welcome to GGW. Where the best views are from EOTR, metro doesn't really cater to suburban riders, there are thousands of people run down every day by Maryland drivers, and there is no war on cars.

Or better yet, removing traffic lanes improves the flow of traffic.

by charlie on Nov 29, 2012 2:43 pm • linkreport

I was puzzled when I saw the Graham quote in there. If anything, guaranteeing more parking spaces for residents (without any offsetting increase in availability for visitors, e.g., increased metering) is a big wet sloppy kiss for car-owning residents.

by Payton on Nov 29, 2012 2:45 pm • linkreport

I agree with the point re: Craig's article, but would offer that Courtland Milloy's Nov. 27 column (D.C. to Poor: Take a Hike) is an even better example of the type of incendiary and destructive discourse being referred to here.

by Brasky on Nov 29, 2012 2:49 pm • linkreport

Not a great comparison. Birtherism is a black & white issue - either Obama was born in the United States or he wasn't. "War on cars" may be a piece of exaggerated rhetoric, but it is certainly true that many newer/younger residents - like drumz above and like myself - DO want to reduce average car use and push for things that make driving less convenient. Pretending that is not so isn't being honest.

To whit: "To sum up, we have a scenario where new people are coming in, don't actually want to remove any amenities from any existing residents, but the very fact of their existence threatens some people economically."

But we DO want to remove amenities from existing residents. Free parking, extra lanes, lande width, etc. are all amenities. For the Upper NW demographic, living in a relatively low-density neighborhood where everyone around you is affluent is an amenity, one that is threatened by apartment buildings whose units have much lower barriers to entry than the cost of a detached SFH in the favored quadrant.

You may think that all these things have enough negative externalities to make them undesirable - and in many/most cases, I would agree. But they are indeed amenities (like suspension of basically all parking rules for church attendees) that we're trying to take away.

by Dizzy on Nov 29, 2012 3:03 pm • linkreport

@Brasky: Yeah, I commented on that one in another thread, but I haven't been able to figure out what sort of connections Milloy thought he was making. He seems even more confused about the parking proposal, not to mention that he apparently thinks that the poorest residents of DC are the ones most dependent on owning cars. How does that make sense at all?

by Gray's The Classics on Nov 29, 2012 3:11 pm • linkreport

Dizzy,

I agree but I'll clarify for myself at least that its not that I want to make it harder to drive per se. But if the only way to create a better pedestrian/bike/transit experience is to reallocate what was formerly dedicate to a cars then I think its an easy call most times.

by drumz on Nov 29, 2012 3:12 pm • linkreport

@Dizzy - whether or not thats the case (and I think its more complex than that - I am a car owner, but ALSO a cyclist, transit user, and walker, for example - I'm for fewer VMTs, but anyone who starts a war on cars by firing a gun at my sedan will have combat on their hands) the policy discussed in the WaPo article is orthogonal to that. Its not taking free parking spaces to create bike lanes or bus lanes or CaBi stations - its taking free parking spaces available to all, and instead creating free parking spaces for ward 1 residents. Maybe its a war on suburbanites, or a Ward 1 war on Ward 7 and 8, or some other meme - but war on cars it is not.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 29, 2012 3:12 pm • linkreport

@drumz

I agree but I'll clarify for myself at least that its not that I want to make it harder to drive per se. But if the only way to create a better pedestrian/bike/transit experience is to reallocate what was formerly dedicate to a cars then I think its an easy call most times.

Yea, I think the two are pretty inextricably linked. Improving one experience often necessarily requires degrading the other. And you're right, it is an easy call most times. I say that as someone who drives a car in the city (albeit almost exclusively on weekends).

@AWITC

I was referring to David's analogy here, not to Grahamzilla's pandering policy to his constituency, a policy that - just like David - I dislike.

by Dizzy on Nov 29, 2012 3:17 pm • linkreport

The only reason this would be at all threatening to anyone else is because when there weren't so many people in DC, and when a lot of people didn't walk and bicycle from place to place, drivers could have lots of spaces to park and the roads to themselves to drive more quickly.

But people did walk and bike before all these new people came. It's not like biking and walking is new to the city. They were just ignored because they were poor and/or a minority. That's the irony of the arguments that columnists like Milloy make; a decade or so ago he would've been a staunch defender of walking and biking...now that the demographic has changed...not so much.

by dc denizen on Nov 29, 2012 3:22 pm • linkreport

Can't wait to see the crazy reactions to this on the Ward 5 list-serve...

by Shipsa01 on Nov 29, 2012 3:24 pm • linkreport

@charlie-Sometimes....and I know this is tough to believe...but, removing a lane of traffic actually makes traffic "flow" better.

by thump on Nov 29, 2012 3:24 pm • linkreport

Re: the actual issue of parking passes
One thing that I actually agreed with Lance on back in the day was that its kind of silly for the city for reserving curbside spots exclusively for residents. We disagreed on the solutions but its silly on the part of some residents who were used to parking in one spot to expect that to continue as the neighborhood changes and becomes more populated.

I think restricting entire sides of blocks is perhaps to blunt of a tool.

by drumz on Nov 29, 2012 3:30 pm • linkreport

Yeah, I scratched my head at Graham's comment. This new parking regulation is a pretty old-fashioned move by a politician to make his constituents happy at the expense of non-constituents. These new parking rules actually make it easier for residents to own cars, and park them on the streets, in the area in question.

by Potowmack on Nov 29, 2012 3:33 pm • linkreport

The only reason this would be at all threatening to anyone else is because when there weren't so many people in DC, and when a lot of people didn't walk and bicycle from place to place, drivers could have lots of spaces to park and the roads to themselves to drive more quickly.

This is a great point that rarely gets made. As DC becomes a more desirable place to live, more people are going to live here. As more people live here, it's going to be harder and harder to drive around effortlessly.

I think that greatly contributes to the resistance to change. A lot of folks look back and think things were just fine in the late 80s and early 90s. After all, at least you could drive across town in 15 minutes.

by Oboe on Nov 29, 2012 4:09 pm • linkreport

Maybe its a war on suburbanites, or a Ward 1 war on Ward 7 and 8, or some other meme - but war on cars it is not.

I think you're getting at something here. And whether you call it "war on suburbanites" or something else, when you boil it down it's just self-determination.

We don't even think about it when US elected officials pass legislation that serves the interests of US citizens--even if that legislation negatively impacts Mexico. And the first thing Virginia lawmakers do before passing legislation is not to sit down and ask each other, "So...how might this negatively impact DC residents?"

So I'm not quite sure why it's such a shock that DC lawmakers occasionally pass laws that are intended to promote DC residents--even if those laws have some minor negative impact on suburbanites.

by Oboe on Nov 29, 2012 4:14 pm • linkreport

yes - though in this instance, if it really does harm suburbanites who are either employees or customers of Ward 1 businesses, it may be detrimental to the District as a whole, if not to voters in Ward 1.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 29, 2012 4:23 pm • linkreport

Racial animus vs. transit issues? Come on D

The "War on Cars" is real but it's moreso a matter of "war on beliefs." Now maybe that is something that we can apply to our political system.

Obviously, we've had this discussion numerous times and nothing really changes. "ProTransit" types are going to be painted as anti-cars. "ProCar" types will be painted as anti-transit. Fact is, it's rare for either side to concede any responsibility for the toxic environment each helps to create.

It shouldn't be a shock that black people like the same things as white people, asian people, hispanics etc. Any thinking person knows this. The problem is that you have radicals on both sides of the debate who purposely fan flames and leave their respective side believing whatever horror story painted by the other. Those contributing to this come in all forms...even here at GGW.

But seriously, let's not "...is the new black" birtherism. No, transit and race are in now way synonymous.

by HogWash on Nov 29, 2012 4:32 pm • linkreport

it may be detrimental to the District as a whole, if not to voters in Ward 1.

Sure. I don't know enough about this particular instance to say. I was responding more to the comments we heard yesterday decrying "elitism" and the like. Bottom line is if the goal is to convince DC elected officials to change policy, the only real argument that's going to hold sway is that the policies hurt DC residents.

by Oboe on Nov 29, 2012 4:35 pm • linkreport

One last thing: The Imhoff piece is pretty hilarious. A good part of his thesis seems to be that only by arranging our city in a way that makes things as convenient as possible for people who don't live in the city can we attract new residents.

You know, because most of the population growth over the last decade or two has been by people who love the ample parking in Chinatown.

by Oboe on Nov 29, 2012 4:43 pm • linkreport

Gary Imhoff's piece is just totally misguided. And here's the one phrase that I just think summarizes his whole viewpoint:

If your employees want to drive to their work instead of spending hours a day on public transportation

Just disdain for transit and the regular people who use it. Who's the elitist?

What he and a lot of people (even people on this site) fail to understand is that it's not a "war on cars." It's a war on the following:

SOV driving during peak periods - horribly inefficient in terms of 1)fuel use, 2)space use, 3)infrastructure overbuild need. As many people as possible need to use transit, walk, or bike to work. Those are the cheaper and more efficient ways to move people at the times when the vast majority need to be taking trips.

Streets as car storage - this can also be solved with more transit.

by MLD on Nov 29, 2012 5:40 pm • linkreport

I'm originally from Virginia and live and work in NoVA...but have always considered the entire DC area my home. I prefer to enjoy the restaurants, nightife, and culture in DC...but do not live near a Metro...so usually travel by car.

I can see both sides of the issue. For a lot of us it comes down to economics...it's much more expensive to live near a Metro stop in NoVA...so we usually drive into DC. I expect in many of the popular DC neighborhoods, I will not find street parking and will have to park in a garage/lot each time...and spend $10-$20 per visit.

The DC area has become an expensive place to live.

by dmv_fan on Nov 29, 2012 5:47 pm • linkreport

@dmv_fan,

I sympathize with your experience. At the same time, it's something of a zero-sum game. By pursuing policies that make it easier for folks to come into DC for dinner or a game, we have to eschew policies that make it more attractive for DC residents to live, work, and play here.

The difference between visitors from MD and VA and DC residents is that residents spend money at restaurants shows and events--and also pay income tax. Anything to increase the number of taxpayer residents. As the number of middle class residents increases, it's going to be increasingly difficult for non-residents to access the city's amenities. Obviously this stinks if you're on the outside looking in, but it will also be a driver of in-migration to the city.

This explains the mass influx of newcomers to Colimbia Heights, the H Street area, and other neighborhoods. As access becomes more difficult, proximity increases in value.

by oboe on Nov 29, 2012 7:34 pm • linkreport

While there's nothing wrong in principle with reserving one side of the street for Ward 1 residents, I'm surprised other CMs allowed Graham to make such a naked land grab for nothing in return. Residents in Wards 2-8 just gave up use of half the parking spaces in Ward 1 for nothing in return. If residents in Wards 2-8 give up something so valuable, shouldn't they get something in return?

By calling it a war on cars, Graham is just deflecting the real war he's waging on residents of Wards 2-8. I could see reserving half the street for DC residents but giving it only to folks of one particular Ward seems unfair.

by Falls Church on Nov 29, 2012 9:58 pm • linkreport

There absolutely is a war on cars. When one group of people fights another group of people for a long time, it's called a war.

People may come up with all kinds of names for it, like sustainability, sharing the road, promoting alternative modes, whatever. But at the end of the day, resources are scarce, and pushing one set of needs instead of another (no matter how well justified) still constitutes a political war.

by Paul on Nov 29, 2012 11:34 pm • linkreport

What strange bedfellows.

Imhoff, David, and a few of the first comments in the CP piece all champion the right of mostly millennials to drive in to go to bars and have free on-street parking provided for them depriving mostly older property and income tax paying residents of preference in being able to park their cars.

In practice the ERPP is working as a defacto performance parking as the fine is $30 and the going rate for evening parking in the the bar zones isn't much less. Don't worry plenty of people who are spending a lot of money to get drunk are risking the $30 tickets and DC is making tons of money on the fines. (And several bars have valet parking so that people won't have to look for their car while drunk).

If we had an effective drunk-driving enforcement program we could be making tons on drunk driving tickets too. But that would be bad for business and only benefit the few pedestrians, bikers, and sober drivers who wouldn't be killed.

We just can't expect people who are going out drinking to deal with transit while intoxicated; that block or two walk to Metro while drunk is just torture.

by Tom Coumaris on Nov 29, 2012 11:44 pm • linkreport

@Paul,

"There absolutely is a war on cars."

Only in the sense that everything is a "war". (Or every allocation of finite resources.) Also a holocaust. Because that's defined as something bad that happened to a group of people.

And have you heard about the war on hyperbole?

by oboe on Nov 30, 2012 8:24 am • linkreport

Congrats, David. This article is officially GGW Jumping the Shark! Birtherism is ignoring reality in favor of something you really want to believe. By making the comparison, you are saying that your viewpoint - and only your viewpoint - is the objective fact. The website has been trending this way for quite some time, but it is nice that you can take it all the way.
I, for the record, agree with many of the viewpoints that you and your contributors share through this site. Occasionally, I disagree. When people disagree here, it is not met with open arms. Rarely, does anyone provide a counterpoint as an invited writer. Instead, much like Fox News or MSNBC, this is a place where like minded people can come and have their "correct" vision lifted up by like-minded others.

It's a shame. Exchanging ideas, and disagreeing, is important. This is no longer the place.

Birtherism! Yes, David. You have all the facts. Anyone that disagrees is delusional. Not you. No way.

by Brentwood on Nov 30, 2012 8:55 am • linkreport

@those (like brentwood) jumping on David

can someone please explain to me how reserving on street parking for ward 1 residents is part of a "war on cars"?

I do not share Oboe's enthusiasm for using inconvenience to suburbanites as a way to induce residential development (which logically, could lend support to reducing transit and biking options into the city, and other silly ideas) - but war on suburbanites, war on wards 2-8, war on local bars, whatever, its NOT a war on cars. No way no how.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 9:04 am • linkreport

What Brentwood said. Comparing people who oppose your views to "birthers" (or Nazi or socialists or racists or homophobes, etc.) is known as poisoning the well. The purpose of poisoning the well is to unjustly undermine your opponents and their views by comparing them to a specific hated group and to deflect attention away from them as reasonable people. It's a cheap, dirty tactic which always rebounds to the detriment of the poisoner.

by Socket on Nov 30, 2012 9:08 am • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity: it doesn't matter if it is a war on cars or not. What matters is that this website is now resorting to name calling when people have the nerve to disagree. And, the specific name calling is an argument that their viewpoint is fact and that anyone who disagrees is delusional.

This is why I feel this is a jumping the shark moment.

by Brentwood on Nov 30, 2012 9:12 am • linkreport

Guys I have a great idea, lets argue about whether a specific use of an analogy was appropriate and ignore the actual issue at hand which is, what is the best way to allocate street parking in a way that benefits residents and visitors!

Because this isn't the first time (nor the last) people will accuse David or GGW of losing touch or whatever.

by drumz on Nov 30, 2012 9:17 am • linkreport

People use name calling on all sides. This is a blog, and an opinionated one, not a daily newspaper. If someone says something that is delusional (and I have yet to see someone explain how calling CM Graham's change a 'war on cars' is NOT delusional) well, a spade is a spade. BTW, I don't much like birthers, but comparing birthers to Nazis hardly seems appropriate either (and I don't think socialists belongs on that list either) .

What has been said about CM Graham's change is not ONLY incorrect. Its flat out illogical. Its absurd. That is what DA was calling out. And he used a particularly dramatic way to put it, but I think an apt way.

If CM Graham had taken away parking spaces in favor of bike lanes, or bus lanes, or bike parking, or wider sidewalks, and someone had said this is a war on cars, saying he is incorrect, but worth debating, would have been the correct approach. Ditto if someone said this is unfair to suburbanites. But thats not what was said. What was said is that reserving parking spaces for CARS owned by Ward 1 residents is a "war on cars". That goes well beyond incorrect. Its like calling solar energy subsidies part of the war on Christmas. Its not just wrong, its nonsense.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 9:29 am • linkreport

The zoning update does nothing to discourage driving, it merely proposes a slight reduction in the driving subsidy.

by Chris on Nov 30, 2012 9:47 am • linkreport

And he used a particularly dramatic way to put it, but I think an apt way.

I agree, he did. But the point you seem to miss here is that being "dramatic" employs the same strategy of those you believe are in opposition to your own views. Yet, there seems to be a significant level of "how dare you" when such hyperbole is directed your way.

It's inarguable many people think their own use of "drama" is apt.

The dilemma often presented here is how to be effective engaging in our discourse. D Al's point about the political system is appropriate. Just not the introduction of birtherism.

by HogWash on Nov 30, 2012 9:59 am • linkreport

"Yet, there seems to be a significant level of "how dare you" when such hyperbole is directed your way."

if someone on my side said something comparable in absurdity to "reserving parking for one set of cars instead of a different set of cars is part of the war on cars" and someone else, posting on a blog, used insulting language, I would NOT say "how dare you"

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 10:02 am • linkreport

The new Godwin's law: mention birtherism -- time to killfile the thread.

by goldfish on Nov 30, 2012 10:03 am • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity - I don't think anyone is suggesting we inconvience suburanites to spur development. I think what Oboe and others are saying is that when there is sufficient development that someone has to be inconviences and the people who actually live in the city can support businesses, that we inconvience that people who don't live and pay taxes here in DC.

I do not understand why people think it so unreasonable that DC benefits DC residents first. There has been sufficent change that DC doesn't have to bend overbackwards to accomodate people who don't live here to the deteriment of people who do actually live.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that it is a loss, but I don't understand why suburabnities think your wants should trump the needs of people who actually live here. Do you suburban politicians hold the needs to DC residents above their citizens?

And I don't even think resident only on onside of the street parking is a good idea, but I do believe that in general policies should be made to reflect the wants and needs of people who live in a place.

by Kate W. on Nov 30, 2012 10:08 am • linkreport

Because this isn't the first time (nor the last) people will accuse David or GGW of losing touch or whatever.

Bingo.

Because this sort of (I hope) disingenuous pearl-clutching is actually quite common as a way of shutting down dialogue. And not just on GGW.

I didn't think "birtherism" was the most apt comparison, but let's leave out the mock outrage.

by Oboe on Nov 30, 2012 10:10 am • linkreport

@Kate W. +1

by Tina on Nov 30, 2012 10:12 am • linkreport

I think the other point DA made was that an absurdity can result from real underlying angst. BHO was born in the USA, BUT he was not only the first nonwhite president, he spent several formative years in Indonesia, his father was from a 3rd world country, etc. He was threatening and birtherism played on that.

Right now there are lots of changes happening in transportation and development - more people moving to WUPs - more development in certain parts of DC and the inner suburbs (and similar in other metro areas) an increase in cycling, and the spread of cycling facilities and bike share - more policy discussion of walkability - changes in policies relative to the automobile, including a range of changes on parking - some in DC fairly dramatic. Talk about climate change - including discussion in the policy world of policies like carbon taxes that are quite moderat, but appear punitive - and discussion in some environmental circles of much more radical approaches. And specific to DC and a few other central cities, dramatic changes in racial composition. In that context ANY change in parking policy can get peoples dander up, rationally or not. That I think is the point DA was making.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 10:12 am • linkreport

Not meant to shut down dialogue. I guess that I just get tired of the fact that "if your ideas aren't the same as mine, you're delusional." I can't read an article about bike commuting because it devolves into shouting in 2 comments. I feel like we're going down that same road.

Tim Craig's article pointed out changes. When taken as a group they CAN be seen as a shift. For years, city planners emphasized driving and parking. Now, they are DE-emphasizing. I think Craig wrote that without judgement. The judgement came from this blog, in the form of name calling."

by Brentwood on Nov 30, 2012 10:18 am • linkreport

"I'm sympathetic to the idea that it is a loss, but I don't understand why suburabnities think your wants should trump the needs of people who actually live here. Do you suburban politicians hold the needs to DC residents above their citizens?"

I hope you mean "your suburban politicians" - I am not a politician myself, just a citizen. Personally I am fed up with interjurisdictional wars - not only suburbs vs DC, but Va vs Maryland, and of course VDOT vs Arlington County. I would like see more regionalism in general. Occasionally we do see it (FFX and MoCo for example are talking about ways to coordinate a new approach to the Legion bridge - and Cabi represents a great model of regional cooperation).

I realize though that most politicians do play these games, whether I like it or not, and I am not surprised that DC pols would do so. As I have posted here several times, specific traffic cams that effectively tax suburban drivers are a pretty natural policy for DC. I am simply making the point that a more general attitude of making access to DC businesses by suburbanites more difficult, as I read Oboe stating is A. not a good thing in general - its just more beggar thy neighborism B. Its likely not CBA justified for DC - at best it beats allowing free parking to all - though thats an open question (depends on how much retail sales are lost, vs how much of inducement to new residences this is - compared to a better policy like charging a market rate for parking, its probably worse

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 10:21 am • linkreport

as for inducing residential development - how many of the suburbanites who have moved to the district have done so BECAUSE they first experienced DC night life?

My wife and I are contemplating a move to the district - as part of that we like to walk around potential neighborhoods - usually its been more convenient for us to get there by car - if parking becomes too big an obstacle and we end up spend less time exploring the district, and more time exploring options in Arlington or Silver Spring, we are that much LESS likely to end up in the District.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 10:25 am • linkreport

@AWalkerinTheCity -- You seem to think that the wants of people who visit the city should trump the needs to people who live here. I don't agree. You seem surpised that in making policy DC politicians listen to DC listen to DC residents.

My question to you was in making decisions about things like parking policy in the suburbs does anyone think about what DC residents would like? My guess is no.

With finite resources, yes, I do think the people who actually live in a place should get preference over nonresidents. Your contributions aren't that great.

by Kate W. on Nov 30, 2012 10:28 am • linkreport

note also - the traffic cam thing represent direct revenue to the DC govt, which can be spent on social services - I beleive the suburbs do take on too small a proportion of the regional burden of poverty, so I see that as justified.

The parking stuff, though Oboe bravely tries to make the case for it from the DC govt budget POV, in fact will mostly convenience people who own cars and live in the more desirable nabes, and would do so anyway. Many of whom are in fact among the Districts louder NIMBYs.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 10:30 am • linkreport

I think there's a strong point to be made that our society has been engaged in a creeping degeneration of debate into militaristic rhetoric where now any issue can be categorized as a "war on X" without meaningful challenge. Differing opinions are no longer brooked, and the opposition are treated as traitors and quislings. The war metaphor paints everything as us vs. them, with no shades of gray. It compromises our ability to see those with whom we disagree as fellow citizens and well-intentioned.

As Americans, we're used to fighting an enemy without; focusing that energy inward on petty issues can only cripple us as a people.

by Craig on Nov 30, 2012 10:52 am • linkreport

I like the idea of a "war on hyperbole"

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 10:58 am • linkreport

@Awalk and someone else, posting on a blog, used insulting language, I would NOT say "how dare you"

From my experiences here, most people do seem to have a "how could you say that when my intentions are so sincere and at the end of the day I''m right" sort of attitude..not that someone actually says it.

As far as DAl's analogy. There's little in Craig's piece pushing the notion that there's a real "war on cars" beyond the reasonable statement Graham made. It is true that many transit advocates here and other places actually DO want to discourage car ownership. This isn't a new principle.

In that context ANY change in parking policy can get peoples dander up, rationally or not. That I think is the point DA was making.

I agree. But that will forever remain a far cry from the belief that Barack is somehow illegitimate vs. transportation birtherism.

Gay is not the new black.
Concerns over Transportation issues is not the new birtherism.

by HogWash on Nov 30, 2012 11:28 am • linkreport

Personally I am fed up with interjurisdictional wars - not only suburbs vs DC, but Va vs Maryland, and of course VDOT vs Arlington County. I would like see more regionalism in general...

I couldn't agree more. But Ward 8 has almost 20% unemployment and one in five children in DC lives in poverty--which means that a much higher proportion than 1 in 5 of kids in Ward 8 live in poverty. The war has been going on for a half century and we've still got a way to go yet to get to a lasting peace.

by Oboe on Nov 30, 2012 11:29 am • linkreport

The parking stuff, though Oboe bravely tries to make the case for it from the DC govt budget POV, in fact will mostly convenience people who own cars and live in the more desirable nabes, and would do so anyway. Many of whom are in fact among the Districts louder NIMBYs.

Sure, but just to clarify, I'm not endorsing the Graham legislation. But there are situations in which the benefits/losses are zero-sum. For example, you can't always maximize suburban access to the city (e.g. the practice of turning certain of DC's roads into one-way arterials during rush-hour) without impacting city residents' quality of life.

People who commute into (or through) DC by automobile are right to feel threatened by bike lanes and pro-pedestrian policies. Those changes have a real possibility of hurting them.

But at the end of the day, DC politicians have to serve the interests of their constituents. A secondary consideration in those interests is making it easy for non-residents to come into the city, spend money, etc, etc... But it's still a secondary consideration.

by Oboe on Nov 30, 2012 11:46 am • linkreport

There's little in Craig's piece pushing the notion that there's a real "war on cars" beyond the reasonable statement Graham made. It is true that many transit advocates here and other places actually DO want to discourage car ownership.

So one could say "advocating policies that discourage car ownership" is the new "war"!

Concerns over Transportation issues is not the new birtherism.

No, I agree, such strained analogies should always be avoided.

by Oboe on Nov 30, 2012 11:51 am • linkreport

sure. But I would suggest that two lane roads, bike lanes, pro ped are not zero sum, at least in theory, and usually in practice. Parking privileges are a more overt simple transfer of utility. note a non win win situation, does not mean something is zero sum. If I can give DC residents $6 worth of benefits only by imposing $5 worth of costs on suburbanites, thats a net sum of plus $1, not zero sum (and I would argue that well placed bike lanes, traffic calming etc, do precisely that)

Its like the difference between Virginia trying to grab a maryland firm by easing zoning, or building a road or transit line, vs offering a tax inducement. Theres a difference between doing something that has a policy justificiation, even when done for competitive advantage, versus more naked beggar thy neighbor policies.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 11:56 am • linkreport

"There's little in Craig's piece pushing the notion that there's a real "war on cars" beyond the reasonable statement Graham made"

How is Grahams statement reasonable? How is his grab on behalf of Ward 1 CAR OWNERS part of discouraging auto use?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 11:59 am • linkreport

actually in terms of car OWNERSHIP, its almost certainly the reverse. suburbanites who drive into DC will still own cars anyway - if they can't park in Adams morgan to go drinking, they will drive to Clarendon instead - if they take the metro to U street, they will still own cars to buy groceries, etc. OTOH more spots for Ward 1 residents means less incentive to go car free, or car lite.

Fairfax and MoCo may suffer from Grahams change - but Detroit won't.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 12:03 pm • linkreport

sorry - two way roads, not two lane roads.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 12:05 pm • linkreport

@AWITC, How is Grahams statement reasonable?

What he said was:

That is the sign of the future, that discourages car ownership,

so you don't believe discouraging car ownership/use is the sign of the future? You believe we're going to encourage MORE car ownership in DC? Really?

by HogWash on Nov 30, 2012 12:12 pm • linkreport

I agree that the term "birther" is not apt. While a bit dated, I think that "John Bircher" would be more accurate. (Birther's persist in pushing a distorted set of facts against all evidence, whereas Bircher's merely saw a conspiracy wherever they look). The "war on cars" theme is more like an unreasonable assertion of conspiracy than pushing a distorted set of facts to disqualify.

Evolution of "war" is ironic. During the second half of the 20th century, the military raised the bar for what is a war while in domestic affairs the bar was lowered. People went into all sorts of contortions to avoid calling a battle between armies a "war", using such terms as "conflict" and "police action". But policies became wars, such as "War on Poverty," "War on Drugs," and the "Cultural War."

"War on Cars" is not too far beyond what the term "war" came to mean, except for one thing. Usually the protagonists of the War rather than their targets start calling it a war. The "War on Poverty" and even the "War on Drugs" were meant to be unifying initiatives in which the nation would work together to "attack" a problem,

The final clause in the first paragraph is relevant here. There is not a war on cars, but some advocates for drivers feel as if there is a war on cars. AAA would probably be more successful if they said "we sometimes feel as if policies like that are part of a war on cars" because it would call attention to what they fear losing--and it's hard to ridicule someone trying to explain their feelings. By simply calling it a "war on cars", instead of explaining their own feelings, they accuse someone else of intentionally harming them--or at least that is what it sounds like. It's harder to collaborate with someone who attacks your motives than with someone saying they feel hurt.

by JimT on Nov 30, 2012 12:24 pm • linkreport

We are also moving towards more use of renewable energy. Would it have made sense to say "That is the sign of the future, encouraging renewable energy"????

The new parking regs ("that") no more discourage car ownership than they encourage renewable energy. In fact I think they ENCOURAGE car ownership, as I explained above. There may be policies to discourage car ownership in DC, but reserving parking spaces for Ward 1 residents is not one of them.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 12:25 pm • linkreport

"It's harder to collaborate with someone who attacks your motives than with someone saying they feel hurt."

AAA needs to learn about "I messages"??? lol.

Okay. "When CM Graham says that ward 1 parking privileges will discourage car ownership, it makes ME feel like someone is either foolish or lying" "When people cite CM Grahams statement as support for the notion that the parking grab is part of a war on cars, I feel the same way I do when someone says the president was born in Kenya"

is that better?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 12:29 pm • linkreport

and can I still have a cookie?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 30, 2012 12:29 pm • linkreport

Yeah, I don't understand how anyone could think that reserving car spaces for people who live in the area is an attack on car ownership. If anything they are making it EASIER for people in the area to park and therefore incentivizing car ownership.

by MLD on Nov 30, 2012 12:40 pm • linkreport

@AWITC
If I can give DC residents $6 worth of benefits only by imposing $5 worth of costs on suburbanites, that's a net sum of plus $1, not zero sum (and I would argue that well placed bike lanes, traffic calming etc, do precisely that)...There's a difference between doing something that has a policy justification, even when done for competitive advantage, versus more naked beggar thy neighbor policies.

As often happens, you put it better than I did.

by Oboe on Nov 30, 2012 12:59 pm • linkreport

if AAA said "we sometimes feel as if policies like that are part of a war on cars"

Then we can ask them to file a Hurt Feelings form

by Tina on Nov 30, 2012 1:08 pm • linkreport

Reading this thread you can see the evil genius that is Graham. He blew the dog whistle of city vs. suburbs and "discouraging car ownership" to cover up for the fact that he just stole parking rights from Wards 2-8 and gave them to Ward 1. Everyone is distracted debating something that is pretty irrelevant while Graham gets his dirty work done.

There is zero chance that Grahama was confused when he framed the policy as just another step DC is taking to "discourages car use" when it really doesn't. He's just using it as cover.

by Falls Church on Nov 30, 2012 1:21 pm • linkreport

When people cite CM Grahams statement as support for the notion that the parking grab is part of a war on cars, I feel the same way I do when someone says the president was born in Kenya

The problem w/your insistence that the comparison is apt is even DAl says (wrt to Graham's discouraging car ownership): It's not clear in what context Graham said this

So if we're to believe DAL, we actually don't know "why" Graham made the statement and are only assuming what he meant. Nevertheless, the idea that we want to encourage people to abandon cars is simply not foreign.

So no, making an analogy between the purposeful use of racial coding and a statement we have no context for isn't better.

by HogWash on Nov 30, 2012 1:28 pm • linkreport

he just stole parking rights from Wards 2-8 and gave them to Ward 1.

No, he took them from everyone w/o a ward 1 sticker (including district and non-district residents) and gave them to ward 1 sticker holders.

by MLD on Nov 30, 2012 1:31 pm • linkreport

No, he took them from everyone w/o a ward 1 sticker (including district and non-district residents) and gave them to ward 1 sticker holders.

Non-district residents don't have a property right to park on residential streets in DC. They are granted permission just as you grant permission to a visitor to come in your home. However, if you tell your roomate they can no longer use the common kitchen, then that's a totally different thing.

by Falls Church on Nov 30, 2012 2:30 pm • linkreport

The people who live in the city, shop in the city and pay taxes in the city are lucky to be living in a generally walkable environment. Many of them don't have cars and use Zipcars when necessary. Others have off-street parking that comes with their residence. They really don't need the extra street parking (although I am in favor of some residential preferences)

For many reasons, I left DC and now live in a suburb which doesn't have the urban amenities which I like; nor do I always have public transit options. It is increasingly hard for me to come to DC to shop, go to dinner and the theater (given the new meter hours), or visit friends. So I end up paying less sales tax to DC than I would if there were more parking spaces available for people like me, and fewer for people who are already there.

It seems that the City Council and government are still in thrall to the Parking lot operators. This has been a recurrent theme going back to the Barry administrations which were heavily supported financially by the parking lot and garage owners and operators. They are the ones who make out like bandits--not the ordinary DC residents--from all the recent parking changes.

by JLo on Dec 3, 2012 12:21 am • linkreport

While the new parking rules may make it more difficult for to visit friends or shop right after work, they seem to make it easier to go to dinner for some people. Today alot of spaces become legal at 6:30PM, henceforth, there will be two waves, as many spaces open up at 6:30 PM while others open up at 8:00PM (for extra-ward cars).

by JimT on Dec 3, 2012 7:48 am • linkreport

"Yeah, I don't understand how anyone could think that reserving car spaces for people who live in the area is an attack on car ownership. If anything they are making it EASIER for people in the area to park and therefore incentivizing car ownership."

Perhaps you are of the opinion that people own cars only for the purpose of leaving them on the street in front of their houses.

It may surprised you to know that I live in DC, and sometimes drive to other places in DC.

Did you think that the only thing people do with their cars is drive to and from work? We visit our friends in DC. We go out to eat in DC. We shop in DC.

Why is it that everyone who doesn't own a car thinks they know what people do with their cars? Maybe this debate should consider actual car owners: people who have commutes or schedules or lifestyles that don't permit biking or walking for every activity of every day. My wife is pregnant, I suppose you'd have her on a bike share? You take your dog to the vet with bike caboose? You shop for a week with a wicker basket?

The changes in parking restrictions treat residents just as badly as nonresidents once you're outside your zone. If I was staying in my zone, I probably wouldn't be driving...

by Jamie on Dec 3, 2012 1:31 pm • linkreport

"Perhaps you are of the opinion that people own cars only for the purpose of leaving them on the street in front of their houses.

It may surprised you to know that I live in DC, and sometimes drive to other places in DC.

Did you think that the only thing people do with their cars is drive to and from work? We visit our friends in DC. We go out to eat in DC. We shop in DC."

this does inconvience people who live in one ward and want to drive to shop or errands in another ward. But it makes things easier for people who want to shop and do errands in their own ward. And it makes it MUCH easier for people who need a place for their car overnight near their home.

I think clearly, net net, it makes car ownership for residents of DC easier.

Why is it that everyone who doesn't own a car thinks they know what people do with their cars? Maybe this debate should consider actual car owners: people who have commutes or schedules or lifestyles that don't permit biking or walking for every activity of every day. My wife is pregnant, I suppose you'd have her on a bike share? You take your dog to the vet with bike caboose? You shop for a week with a wicker basket?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 3, 2012 1:35 pm • linkreport

"Why is it that everyone who doesn't own a car thinks they know what people do with their cars? "

er, I DO own a car.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 3, 2012 1:36 pm • linkreport

I wasn't responding to your comment, but perhaps my use of the colloquial was too much for the readers of this blog. I will rephrase.

Why is it that many people who don't seem to depend on cars thinks they know what everyone else does with their cars?

by Jamie on Dec 3, 2012 1:41 pm • linkreport

"But it makes things easier for people who want to shop and do errands in their own ward"

I really don't understand this logic. While it's certainly possible that I might drive between two points in my ward, it's a lot less likely than that I would want to drive downtown, or visit a friend who does not live close enough to walk or bike. For obvious reasons: things in your ward are, on average, a lot closer than things not in your ward.

by Jamie on Dec 3, 2012 1:44 pm • linkreport

"Why is it that many people who don't seem to depend on cars thinks they know what everyone else does with their cars?"

people tend to not know much about the experiences of people in other situations. Id say thats true of urbanites suburbanites and vice versa, of people who rely on cars vs those who rely on bike vs those who rely on transit, of the rich vs the poor, etc.

BTW my family does rely on our car for most of our shopping and for most of our errands.

I STILL think that the net impact of this change will be to increase car ownership in DC.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 3, 2012 1:51 pm • linkreport

It is increasingly hard for me to come to DC to shop, go to dinner and the theater (given the new meter hours), or visit friends. So I end up paying less sales tax to DC than I would if there were more parking spaces available for people like me, and fewer for people who are already there.

@JLo,

Right, but the reason you're finding it harder to park in DC is that the population of DC residents is growing. So while you end up paying marginally less sales tax in DC, those dollars are more than made up for by a new middle-class resident who's spending money on sales tax, and paying income tax (and various other service fees, etc...)

As my neighborhood gentrifies, I'm finding it more and more difficult to find on-street parking. That's because the increasing wealth of my neighbors means more and more households with (one or more) cars.

As more people choose to live in the city, this is only going to get worse. But for most residents of DC, the improvements in general quality of life outweigh the loss of ample parking.

by Oboe on Dec 3, 2012 1:51 pm • linkreport

"While it's certainly possible that I might drive between two points in my ward, it's a lot less likely than that I would want to drive downtown, or visit a friend who does not live close enough to walk or bike. For obvious reasons: things in your ward are, on average, a lot closer than things not in your ward."

A place only has to be over 1/2 mile for most people to not be willing to walk, and lots of people do not cycle. And then there are all the shopping trips where a car is a major convenience regardless of distance, the pregnant people, etc, etc.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 3, 2012 1:53 pm • linkreport

"I STILL think that the net impact of this change will be to increase car ownership in DC."

I doubt it will have any effect whatsoever. 20 years ago I lived in Mt. Pleasant and all the streets were unzoned. Then people near Mt. Pleasant street gradually got their blocks zoned, pushing (mostly lazy new residents who didn't register their cars in DC) onto streets farther west, causing those people to get up in arms and get zoned. By the time I moved out the whole neighborhood was zoned. Guess what? Parking still sucked. All the scofflaws registered their cars. Nonresidents - contractors, guests, housecleaners, people who teach at Bancroft, etc. still came to visit. They just got more tickets.

What difference will this make? There are already restrictions against parking for more than 2 hours that are vigorously enforced. The people who park there *need* to park there. We want them there. They are our friends, visitors, service providers, or people who patronize our businesses-- businesses that we love, and that probably couldn't survive on just residents. (I live in Columbia Heights, I assure you that The Coupe's entire city block space is not filled 24/7 by people in walking distance).

People who have to park will still park. Some people might choose not to shop there, though probably most people will just get more tickets. Nothing's different - this is just another way that residents think they are going to solve a problem for themselves, that won't do anything except create some marginal parking ticket revenue.

Did you know that New York City has no residential parking, at all? Either it's got a meter or it doesn't. How on earth does that city function?

by Jamie on Dec 3, 2012 1:59 pm • linkreport

"As my neighborhood gentrifies, I'm finding it more and more difficult to find on-street parking. That's because the increasing wealth of my neighbors means more and more households with (one or more) cars."

@Oboe - are you sure? As my neighborhood gentrifies, it's becoming harder to park because the population density is increasing: more houses have basement rentals or are being subdivided, and there are more group houses.

While it is true that statistically car ownership goes up as income does - this effect is pretty minor compared to the effect of a dramatic increase in driver-age population density.

"As more people choose to live in the city, this is only going to get worse. But for most residents of DC, the improvements in general quality of life outweigh the loss of ample parking."

I agree, and I also think that parking restrictions altogether absurd. I think RPP is silly, because it gives the illusion of preferential parking, while blocking the use of the same spots that are largely empty during daytime hours (when car commuters are away) all day long.

These parking restrictions double down on the silliness of RPP. With the exception of streets in immediate proximity to major destinations (like DCUSA, e.g. a 2 block radius) I favor no restrictions whatsoever, other than a "warehousing" rule that can be used to get rid of cars that never move. There have always been, and there will always be, places that are hard to park. Adams Morgan was the classic such place, and still people managed to live there with cars: either you paid for a spot, or you parked far away sometimes, or took a while to find a spot. But you knew that was part of the deal.

by Jamie on Dec 3, 2012 2:12 pm • linkreport

I find it unfortunate that you are attacking us when it seems like we agree that this is bad policy.

People who have to park will still park. Some people might choose not to shop there, though probably most people will just get more tickets.

So what is your point? Who has said that this is a good policy that discourages car use? Nobody here.

Did you know that New York City has no residential parking, at all? Either it's got a meter or it doesn't. How on earth does that city function?

Are there any other cities other than DC that have resident parking restrictions in effect during the day? Most cities have restrictions at night.

by MLD on Dec 3, 2012 2:41 pm • linkreport

My point is that this policy - like almost every other parking restriction DC has created in my life here - is probably a net zero for residents, and a negative for visitors. DC's revenue stream, as usual, is the only winner.

I'm arguing against the notion that this policy is good for residents (or anyone). It really isn't. It won't make parking easier, just as RPP zoning didn't (except for a brief time when there was still nearby unzoned parking).

There is cost of all this, though perhaps most people don't realize it. Service people -- especially contractors -- don't like to work in DC. Homeowners end up paying for this because it's harder to find good people, since there's less choice, and with less competition, comes higher prices.

by Jamie on Dec 3, 2012 2:53 pm • linkreport

"Are there any other cities other than DC that have resident parking restrictions in effect during the day? Most cities have restrictions at night."

As would seem logical..

I've never understood the mindset on this. When I lived in Mt. P everyone always complained about "commuters" (e.g. two or three commuters, and a lot of people who hung out near 7-11) taking up all the parking.

But regardless of who you thought they were, there was never a parking problem anywhere in Mt. Pleasant during the day. Even at night it wasn't that bad. But all these people who drove to work, and had a hard time parking at 6:30 or 7 PM when everyone got back from work, forced a parking policy whose teeth ended at 6:30 or 7 PM.

I would always ask, who do you think it is parking overnight? It's not shoppers. It's not commuters. It could only be... you, your neighbors, and their legitimate guests.

Some people even went so far as to blame it on people from other areas "warehousing" their out-of-state cars on our unzoned streets... as if leaving your car across town made more sense than just getting DC tags. Anyway, when every street was zoned, parking at night was still tough.

by Jamie on Dec 3, 2012 3:01 pm • linkreport

Funny, this statement:

"To sum up, we have a scenario where new people are coming in, don't actually want to remove any amenities from any existing residents, but the very fact of their existence threatens some people economically. Some people respond by latching onto conspiracy theories and forming extreme groups that claim to be for freedom but actually want government rules that maintain the status quo."

pretty much accurately describes the anti "smart meter" movement on Maryland.

by Alex Pline on Dec 3, 2012 3:29 pm • linkreport

MLD - In Montgomery County, restrictions in most places are only effect during the day, and not at night.

by Ben Ross on Dec 3, 2012 3:37 pm • linkreport

Anyone know where Lance went?

by Arnold on Dec 4, 2012 4:04 pm • 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