Monday, January 12, 2009

The Parking Problem

Uptown has a parking problem.

No, it's not that there aren't enough parking spots. It's that too many people think they are entitled to parking spots directly in front of their houses, and excessive worries about parking "problems" in the neighborhood. This kind of thinking has led to unnecessary permit parking and restrictive parking policies that place limitations on small businesses.

If you want a guaranteed parking spot, buy a house with a garage. Rent an apartment with a parking spot. Get a monthly spot at a garage. Most Uptown houses - and it always seems to be the single family homeowners who are the most vocal on this issues - come with garages. They might not be two-car garages, but how many cars does one family need? And, even if you need or want two, three, or even more cars, you should be able to find somewhere on the street to park them. You might have to walk an extra half block or block, but that's not the city's problem. Think of it as an opportunity to get extra exercise. If you're the kind of person who likes to drive, likes to park on the street, and can't or even just prefers not to park more than twenty feet from your home, then think about that issue BEFORE you buy or rent a place. Uptown, especially its commercial corridors and hubs, has always been a popular destination. It's not rocket science that a busy destination translates to busy streets. By all means support neighborhood parking ramps and other solutions, but stop complaining about people parking on "your" street.

Instead of complaining about lack of street parking, look for solutions. Advocate for better public transportation. Keep the sidewalks clear. Push for pedestrian-friendly street environments. Get out and walk - it's a good way to meet your neighbors, and more eyes on the street can translate to less crime. Bike. Look into car-sharing options; HOURCAR has several Uptown area locations. Actively support the proposed Uptown light rail route. Get rid of your car. Improve your parallel parking skills.

In today's society cars are a necessary part of life for many people, and certainly transport many necessary workers and shoppers to support our neighborhood businesses, but it's time we acknowledged that a parking spot in front of your house is a lucky break, not a right.

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