A cone-centric meme is born
August 13, 2019 10:40 PM   Subscribe

In which the r/Portland subreddit has a post about a territorial parking spot enforcer, and then the entire city loses their f****n minds. (NSFW language)

More of the hyper-regional meme at r/Portland
posted by slagheap (150 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Jeez, you just leave your car in the wrong space for 3-5 minutes and you get threatened by 30-50 feral cones.
posted by ActionPopulated at 10:53 PM on August 13 [116 favorites]


No I remember one time I parked near Hawthorne to catch a show at the Baghdad. Returned to find that somebody had crazy glued copies of an angry letter plastered over every window of my car, including front and weird windshields. Ranting about how they were disabled and how this was their parking space and how they hoped that I'd die slowly in a car accident, with no one to help me. This was back around 2004, if I remember correctly.

I love Portland, but between that and the political campaigns that I've seen, there are true assholes up there. Not just Joey Gibson (though he certainly counts), but Portland assholes are weird.... and very ninja-esque in their aggressions for the most part.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 10:59 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


I would love to see a Sheriff/Police officer/Ranger (or whatever is relevant) swoop in and fine the "Fucken cone" owner for "illegal use of fucken cones".
posted by greenhornet at 11:24 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


LeRoienJaune, a review of the linked thread suggests citizens affixing notices to others' vehicle are in violation of the law themselves. This fact obviously does you no good now, but it's something to consider for next time.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 11:36 PM on August 13


The other side of the orange cones:
We live on a corner lot and have two driveways. One of the driveways goes to the garage. The other goes through a wooden gate where apparently no one can see that there is a large boat quite visible over the fence.
One man who lived several blocks away said he did not see the gate when he parked his RV there for weeks, and his excuse was that his driveway has a hill.
The people down the street prefer to park by our house although their driveway and curb footage is all vacant. When it is time to get the drift boat out to go fishing - guess what will be in the way?
posted by Cranberry at 12:25 AM on August 14


The other side of the orange cones:
We live on a corner lot and have two driveways. One of the driveways goes to the garage. The other goes through a wooden gate where apparently no one can see that there is a large boat quite visible over the fence.
One man who lived several blocks away said he did not see the gate when he parked his RV there for weeks, and his excuse was that his driveway has a hill.
The people down the street prefer to park by our house although their driveway and curb footage is all vacant. When it is time to get the drift boat out to go fishing - guess what will be in the way?


This is not remotely the same. Driveways are marked on the curb, and are illegal to park in front of anyway, gate or not. This is someone claiming that a particular piece of public street parking is "theirs".
posted by kafziel at 12:44 AM on August 14 [26 favorites]


One man who lived several blocks away said he did not see the gate when he parked his RV there for weeks, and his excuse was that his driveway has a hill. The people down the street prefer to park by our house although their driveway and curb footage is all vacant. When it is time to get the drift boat out to go fishing - guess what will be in the way?
When you see them next, ask them if they want to give you a phone number you can pass along to the tow truck driver so they'll know which towing company has their illegally-parked driveway-blocker.
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:28 AM on August 14 [19 favorites]


Free on-street parking is silly. If you own a car, you should have to park it on your property or rent space for it somewhere.
posted by pracowity at 1:58 AM on August 14 [41 favorites]


People of Portland, you're supposed to use chairs!
Signed,
The East Coast

(And mainly after it snows two feet and you just spent 3 hours digging your car out and had to run to the store real quick for TP and beer.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 2:11 AM on August 14 [50 favorites]


I have somehow avoided ever living somewhere where I didn't have a parking spot. That was always a deal breaker for me.
posted by bongo_x at 2:13 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


This is a territorial passive aggressive (or just aggressive in this case) PNW thing. Every July 4th (fireworks viewing) and June 21 (Solstice Parade) our Seattle neighborhood is invaded by thousands of cars looking for parking and early in the morning on those days out come the garbage cans, folding chairs, traffic barriers, and fucken cones from the neighbors trying to protect “their” spot in front of their house. Never mind that we can walk or take the bus everywhere, or that your car is already parked on the street, or that there’s so much traffic you can’t get into or out of the neighborhood anyway. It’s this primal, loss of control thing, driven by anxiety and it’s obnoxious. Even my wife succumbed this year, “Oh shit, it’s Solstice, should we put out the cans?” Like, why? So some strange car won’t park in front of our house? No, I’m going to help the kids sell lemonade to the tourists and then I’m gonna spend the rest of the day getting drunk on the roof with the neighbors.

I like the idea of placing some Craigslist ads: Free traffic cones, please pick up at 123 Fake Street June 21 only.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:17 AM on August 14 [37 favorites]


Hell, have your local public works department save on budget by running around July 3rd around midnight picking up all the free cones.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:53 AM on August 14 [14 favorites]


People of Portland, you're supposed to use chairs!
Signed,
The East Coast


Or cones, trash barrels, used Xmas trees, sawhorses, or doddering in-laws. The smart people get a fake fire hydrant that they can store in their car.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:44 AM on August 14 [12 favorites]


Kirth Gerson: Or cones, trash barrels, used Xmas trees, sawhorses, or doddering in-laws

I see you too have experienced the wonder of Chicago Dibs.
posted by capricorn at 4:52 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


This is pretty much the same as the (primarily) east-coast practice of placing a lawn chair in a parking space to hold it open for whomever, isn't it?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:52 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Sure, but cities that don't have that culture of dibs really, really don't have that culture of dibs. And where they do, it is often predicated on having shovelled the snow out of the space, not on simply owning the spot in front of your house.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:20 AM on August 14 [26 favorites]


Free on-street parking is silly.

There is nothing that will make even the most peace-loving hippie lose their goddamn minds more than on-street parking. I would bet a significant amount of money that Mr. Rogers himself once lost his shit over parking.

A woman was killed in a hit-and-run a few months ago near my home. She was in a crosswalk next to an elementary school. People were obviously very upset about this - it could have been someone's child going to school in that crosswalk! The city responded quickly and moved up the long-delayed schedule to renovate the street. Part of the proposal was to remove on-street parking on one side of the street and replace it with a two-way protected bike lane.

People went absolutely insane. I was at one meeting where a dude got up and yelled (yelled!) for a straight fifteen minutes to our transportation planner about how they were STEALING MY PROPERTY by removing parking. Never mind that (unlike almost everywhere else in this city) every home on that street has a driveway. Never mind that the city did a parking study and found that less than 50% of the on-street parking capacity is used on any given day. Nope, this guy accused the city of stealing from him by suggesting that we improve safety for everyone by removing some parking. The worst part was that his strongest argument was that his "7 children and 18 grandchildren" all need to visit him all at once apparently and despite them all living in the same goddamn city they all need to drive and park right in front of his house. There's a bus stop a couple hundred feet away.

So we are not getting new crosswalks and new bike lanes and greenery, but a bunch of entitled yahoos get to keep parking on the street.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:20 AM on August 14 [76 favorites]


Here in SF, we're replacing a lot of our on-street parking in commercial neighborhoods with f****n parklets. IMHO a good thing, though people object when it clearly benefits one specific business.
posted by panglos at 5:57 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Backseat pilot, a very similar thing happened in my neighborhood. We got a notice that the city was going to put in bike lanes and remove street parking on our street. We all have driveways here and the only people who park on the street are me and one of my neighbours but so many people went to the city open house to complain. The city's still going ahead with the plan though.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:59 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


On a street in the Beach, someone has painted in their own parking spaces

For those not from Toronto, this is very on-brand for the Beach (a neighbourhood I used to work in). I'm not saying that Viola Bracegirdle is responsible for this, but I'm not not saying it, either.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:14 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


grossed out by how quickly people jump to "call the cops" do you live under a fucken rock?

i'd keep/frame the signs
posted by emirenic at 6:16 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


My block (in Austin) has really limited on-street parking and one homeowner does the same thing, with the same success in spelling. On the one hand, I don't think anyone should be able to claim public street space. On the other hand, can you imagine how absolutely livid it would make you to come home from work and discover you can't park on your own block, so you have to find a random parking spot somewhere and walk home in the 100+ degree heat?
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:18 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


The part of town where I work is the third-largest CBD in the state with a notorious lack of parking (the university owns most of the lots and there is a 3-7 year waiting list to get a spot). A couple of the neighborhoods fairly close by is full of beautiful old mansions, broad tree-lined streets, and every single house has a driveway and a gd carriage-house for their Porsche Cayennes and Land Rovers. You could have parking on both sides and still have ample room for two-way traffic (AND bike lanes!) on almost all these streets. And yet.... all parking on all these streets is by permit only over 2 hours. You cannot tell me that this is for any reason except the rich people who live there don't want the hoi polloi walking on their sidewalks (which they adamantly DO NOT shovel in winter, because why does anyone need a clear sidewalk when you just go from your back door to your carriage house to your Land Rover?) or otherwise using their neighborhood as part of the fabric of the city.

Anyway, I will defend parking chairs in the single case of massive snowfall. If you put actual sweat equity in to your spot, you should be able to run out and get necessities without some jagoff yoinking your spot.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:22 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


The part of town where I work is the third-largest CBD in the state with a notorious lack of parking

3rd? I assume the 1st is philadelphia but what on earth is between that and pgh?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:29 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Tofu_Cruton: when I first moved to Austin I lived in a rental house and the guy next door would wheat paste angry notes on the windshield of my roommates car if he parked it in front of his house.

We’d retaliate by once every couple of months having friends over and parking more cars in front of his house and then putting our impressive speakers connected to our impressive stereo in our living room windows pointing at his house and throwing very large and obnoxious parties for enough hours into the night that he’d finally snap and come yelling at us in the middle of the night and we’d just pretend he was at the party with us, while he was yelling at us. It was all very immature and yeah the wheat paste was hard to clean off our cars but it was so worth watching him totally lose his shit hahahaha. I’m awful I know but seriously this guy was a total fucken choad I seen it.
posted by nikaspark at 6:35 AM on August 14 [21 favorites]


can you imagine how absolutely livid it would make you to come home from work and discover you can't park on your own block

Yes! Yes I can. That's called "parking your car after 5pm in any major city when you don't have a garage or driveway." Parking on your block is cause for celebration. On Fridays in SF I would sometimes search for upwards of 40 minutes and end up many, many blocks away. As a result I altered my travel patterns.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:36 AM on August 14 [48 favorites]


Sometimes jerk neighbor Parker's work in your favor. Our neighbors hate hate hate that I don't keep our miniscule front garden up beyond spraying plant killer once a year. But given they have 4 cars and never park in their own driveway, preferring instead to park in front of our house, I figure why bother? Nobody will see my lawn behind their ginormous SUV.

They did not like that when I told them, but their parking habits have not changed. I've been granted spousal permission to buy another life-size wooden Bigfoot cut out to put up on the house next to their driveway, so watch this space, I guess.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:40 AM on August 14 [28 favorites]


can you imagine how absolutely livid it would make you to come home from work and discover you can't park on your own block

What makes me really livid is when someone parks in the private assigned parking spot in the private apartment parking where I live and pay 150 bucks a month to use on Capitol Hill in Seattle. That irritates me. But you know what? I don’t call the tow company I just drive around for 15 minutes until I find a parking spot several blocks away and enjoy a leisurely stroll back to my apartment and wait for the bonehead who parked in my spot to leave.

That there are a billion cars on the planet is the problem that exacerbates the human tendency to be unaware/absentminded or argy bargy to a degree that they snap and think pasting or taping mean notes to a window is a reasonable thing to do.

In my best Dr. Phil voice “Cars are your FIRST problem...”
posted by nikaspark at 6:46 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Why on earth would someone whose driveway could accommodate however many cars park on the street instead of their own driveway?
posted by slkinsey at 6:54 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of Nestorism.

A fun bit of nostalgia for those in Washington DC in the 80s.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:55 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


I don’t get the “I shoveled the snow so I should get to park in ‘my spot’ thing.” As a person from someplace where it actually snows, I thought real cities had some kind of odd/even thing and plowed the streets.

I am kind of surprised that anyone’s “parking cones” survive the first time they put passive-aggressive notes on a car, because I would throw them in the trunk when I left. They probably stole them from someplace anyway...
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 6:56 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


I've been granted spousal permission to buy another life-size wooden Bigfoot cut out to put up on the house next to their driveway, so watch this space, I guess.

Another.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:57 AM on August 14 [40 favorites]


For a random anecdote, my dad used to take a cone and put a sign in it that said "Resident Advisor Parking Only" and put it into a parking space when we would leave for the day at a volleyball tournament at Penn State. (It was a weekend long event and we would stay in the dorms and parking was a NIGHTMARE with SUVs everywhere.) He would get much amusement out of watching people pull into the space and then back out once they saw the sign. No one ever seemed to figure out that it was a homemade sign (since it certainly wasn't in EVERY dorm parking lot lol).

At least be creative if you're going to "claim" a parking space!
posted by sperose at 7:00 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I don’t get the “I shoveled the snow so I should get to park in ‘my spot’ thing.” As a person from someplace where it actually snows, I thought real cities had some kind of odd/even thing and plowed the streets.

Yes, they do (sometimes) plow the streets. Where do you think that plowed snow goes? Onto the cars that are parked, requiring the car owner to dig their car out. But, you know, maybe I live in a "fake city."
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:00 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Sure, but cities that don't have that culture of dibs really, really don't have that culture of dibs.

I grew up in a city without a dibs culture and moved to a city with a dibs culture and I couldn’t stand it. Once you start grubbing for “MINE” (yes, even after shoveling snow!) it seems to turn up the stress on everyone, it makes everyone grabby about their “private” public space, and turns a street full of neighbors into antagonists fighting for individual space. A public street is a shared space and you get the good of that alongside the bad.

can you imagine how absolutely livid it would make you to come home from work and discover you can't park on your own block

This is daily life in my city.
posted by sallybrown at 7:04 AM on August 14 [12 favorites]



3rd? I assume the 1st is philadelphia but what on earth is between that and pgh?

Just more Pittsburgh. It's the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, basically Pittsburgh's second downtown.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:08 AM on August 14


Parking, man. Not even once.
posted by hyperbolic at 7:09 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]



For a random anecdote, my dad used to take a cone and put a sign in it that said "Resident Advisor Parking Only" and put it into a parking space when we would leave for the day at a volleyball tournament at Penn State.


Did any actual RAs think "cool, a parking spot just for me!" and take that spot?

Also, that Nestorism link is an amazing story that needs to become better known so that everyone knows the term. I plan to start using it immediately in an attempt to make it better known. I certainly have plenty of opportunities to use it, as I see it all the time around here.
posted by TedW at 7:09 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Why on earth would someone whose driveway could accommodate however many cars park on the street instead of their own driveway?

Please ask our former neighbors, who had no fewer than 7 cars at any one time parked on the street while their driveway remained empty. They used to watch the street in front of their house and come out to yell at people who parked there.

They had a forged handicapped tag for one car (apparently it was for a family member who was long deceased - they simply taped over the photo on the tag) and a dedicated handicapped-only spot in front of their house. The space between their driveway and the next could easily hold two cars, but they didn't want people parking behind "their" handicapped spot. One day, the handicapped spot had been extended to cover the entire curb between the two driveways - I never figured out if they did it themselves or conned the city into doing it.

They had three pickup trucks with plows and salt spreaders on them that would occupy the amount of space two normal cars could fit in. They used to park in front of our house frequently and ISD once mistakenly cited us for "running a business out of a residence" because of it - I had to explain to them that, no, we do not own a snow removal business and the trucks aren't ours. They also used to idle them at all hours of the night and sit in the cabs and smoke.

This whole family seemed to have nothing better to do than play musical chairs with the parking of their vehicles all day. They moved last year, and it's amazing how much less stressful it's been.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:14 AM on August 14 [20 favorites]


My aunt lived on a mafia-controlled block in Chicago. If someone parked in one of the shoveled spaces, someone would come out with the hose and spray down the car. It happened very rarely because people learn fast.
posted by davejay at 7:16 AM on August 14 [14 favorites]


As a person from someplace where it actually snows, I thought real cities had some kind of odd/even thing and plowed the streets.

Where I live we don't get this amount of snow frequently enough to have such a policy. Maybe once every other year do we get more than 6 inches at a time. But the few times we do get dumped on, it super sucks to spend hours shoveling only to come home and have to spend another 2 hours breaking your back to park again. I mean, I don't think it should be the law or anything, but common courtesy and all.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:16 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


But, you know, maybe I live in a "fake city."

You been reading too much PKD?
posted by thelonius at 7:18 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Boston has long had an official rule that after the formal end of an official snow emergency, you can save a space for 48 hours. In March, we had a piddling storm not big enough to warrant an emergency declaration, so some guy took it upon himself to go around his neighborhood (Charlestown, you know, the place where everybody's a bank robber, at least according to Ben Affleck movies) and collect all the savers. He filed a 311 report to complain about all the people yelling at him.
posted by adamg at 7:21 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Fucken Cones of Dunshire
posted by Skwirl at 7:23 AM on August 14 [13 favorites]


Is this something I'd need to own a car to understand?
posted by one for the books at 7:25 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


During the hellish winter of 2015 in Boston, I openly declared war on the scourge that is parking savers. Like, I was stuck working from home for several weeks because the trains all stopped running in the snow, and I would devote half an hour every morning to my sacred task, which was taking a long lap around the block and hurling every folding chair, cardboard box, traffic cone, and any other impromptu antisocial appropriation-of-the-commons I laid eyes on, into the construction dumpster at the bottom of my street. So as not to invite retaliation against hapless passersby who didn't know about the war raging in my little corner of town, I publicly announced my crusade on the local NextDoor, and left some flyers up telling people that anything they left in the street is trash, and I would be collecting and disposing of it on behalf of the city.

I don't think I've ever such such vicious fury as I did on that NextDoor thread. People were LIVID. Just spittle-flecked tirades of profanity vented toward anyone who would dare deprive them of the parking spot they had so lovingly dug their car out of. I wish I had saved some of the better ones, as otherwise-normal people (posting under their real names!) veered away from calm discussions about zoning variances, and steered HARD into ad homs and thinly-veiled threats of violence. The ensuing schism among the neighborhood was never totally resolved; people were still starting arguments months later about the collective butthurt caused by others who had sided against them. I moved out the following summer, for unrelated reasons, but I still try to do my part by hurling every parking saver I see on a public street into the sea.

In conclusion, individual appropriation of the commons is a helluva drug, people are terrible, and if you want your own parking space, rent one or move to the suburbs, jerk.
posted by Mayor West at 7:35 AM on August 14 [27 favorites]


(I am three minutes too late to make the joke that one for the books just made)

Although, while I don't own a car, I did at times use to baby-sit one. When my friends who drove a lot between NYC and the Catskills went out of town for extended periods and couldn't take their car, they'd offer custody to friends; the deal was that we could use it for whatever we wanted, so long as we managed the parking for said car when we weren't using it. They did that to avoid the once-a-week alternate-side-street-parking hassle while they were out of town.

I lucked out because there usually was a spot in front of my building - but they sweep my block on Friday mornings, so I usually had to move it Thursday night to a spot under the BQE, and then Friday night after work i would race home to try to move it back from the BQE on to my block again; only about 65% of the time did I make it back.

So that actually would affect whether I ended up using the car after all. Sometimes if I found a really good place, and there was a public holiday that cancelled the street sweeping on a Friday and negated my need to move it, I sometimes would have second thoughts about using the car because "oh, but that's such a good spot and if I use the car then someone could take it and I'd have to find another spot, lemme just take the bus".

I actually don't recall ever seeing any kind of ad-hoc "saving this parking space" sign here in New York - but that may actually be because the cars themselves are usually there, and they stay put.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:37 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I don’t get the “I shoveled the snow so I should get to park in ‘my spot’ thing.” As a person from someplace where it actually snows, I thought real cities had some kind of odd/even thing and plowed the streets.

I grew up in Grand Rapids, MI (average yearly snowfall 75 in.) and we had odd/even parking restrictions that worked fine. However, on most of the north side of Chicago (and I presume also in large areas of Philly and Boston) there's simply not enough space to take half the parking offline; drivers routinely have to park a block or two away even without the restrictions. And while I generally am in favor of fewer cars, particularly in dense urban areas, there are also lots of people with mobility issues and such for whom it wouldn't be safe to routinely have to walk several blocks over uncleared/slushy/icy sidewalks* so there's no good solution. (This is what happens when you cram a million cars into a built environment that was designed before cars were a thing.)

So I get the dibs thing in moderation but per the usual, people take it to extremes. A couple winters ago a neighbor of mine cleared a spot in front of their house and dibsed it. Then someone else moved the dibs marker and parked there and left. Then an entirely innocent other neighbor parked in that spot. Then the original neighbor keyed the car. Then the cops got involved, etc.

Also people will try to hold dibs on the spot they cleared one time in November for like eight months and that's ridiculous.

I think all good Midwesterners will agree with me, though, that using dibs in somewhere like Portland is just plain unpatriotic.

*shovel your walks, assholes
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:39 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


I personally kind of like it when my neighbor parks in front of my house because it gives the impression that someone is home during the day while I'm at work. Of course I'm spoiled by having a driveway for my own parking. And their car is covered in the kind of stickers that imply they'll gleefully murder anyone who has the gall to glance inside (or, you know, be a minority...yeah, not EVERYTHING about living next to them is great).
posted by DSime at 7:41 AM on August 14


Mayor West, I would vote for you.

Then the original neighbor keyed the car.

It’s the dibs rage that always gets me. “You dared to not respect my personal appropriation of public property, so now I’m going to destroy your personal property.”
posted by sallybrown at 7:44 AM on August 14 [15 favorites]


TedW: it was over Memorial Day weekend so there weren't any RA's on that part of campus.
posted by sperose at 7:49 AM on August 14


Free on-street parking is silly.

Hey, I pay the city a whole $20 a year for the privilege of parking in front of my house. We live near two stadiums and a huge hospital so if we didn't have permit parking all the spots would be taken by suburbanites who are allergic to paid-parking. In fact, the normal $30 parking ticket goes up to $120 during Steelers' games because $30 is less than it costs for a space at the stadium.

I actually almost never park on the street because we have a small warehouse* behind our rowhouse that we use as a garage.

* Yes, we live in the middle of the city and have what is essentially a 9 car garage, AMA.
posted by octothorpe at 7:51 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Free on-street parking is silly. If you own a car, you should have to park it on your property or rent space for it somewhere.

I guess by the same logic free roads are silly, or really any public good is. You should pay for anything you want to use. The libertarians have it right.
posted by mark k at 7:53 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


I lived in Dorchester (Boston) for 5 years, and I personally don't have a problem with 48-hour dibs. Yeah, you shouldn't keep it forever, but the flip side of it being "appropriation of public property" is that the city hasn't got the money nor the space to actually clear all the snow themselves. People getting out there and digging 2 feet of snow out of that public space are doing a public service, and it doesn't seem problematic to say they should benefit at least temporarily from doing so.

The alternative, which I have actually seen, is having someone else on the same street pull their too-big-for-the-city-wtf-are-you-doing-with-that 4wd SUV monstrosity out of a spot without clearing any of the snow from the spot they just left and taking a spot someone actually cleared like a reasonable human being and then had the audacity to run to the grocery store before the snow starts up again.

That said: people are fucking dumb about parking even when there isn't snow. In the 5 years I was there, the same neighbor twice dented my wife's car hood because she dared park in front of their house on a totally clear day not in the winter, at which point they took their enormous truck and instead of parking it in the driveway they had and that could fit it, they parallel parked in front of their own driveway and "accidentally" hit her car while doing it.

Again: same guy, twice.

So people fucking suck.
posted by tocts at 7:54 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Hey, hey, don't call that lawn chair thing an "east coast" thing! That's some Boston/Philly shit. In New York, all spaces are up for grabs at all times, and a lawn chair in a shoveled spot is just a free lawn chair.
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:55 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


Resident-only parking zones and yearly permits connected to your licence plate seems to work fine. If you want to save parking for residents, do that, but then I can see no reason why it shouldn't be first come, first served among those residents.
posted by lookoutbelow at 8:05 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I once dibsed a parking spot. They called me to say the moving truck would be leaving in twenty minutes. I came out of the brand new apartment which held only me, a baby, some blankets, a cheap vinyl seated sixties kitchen chair and a snow shovel, and I dug like fury. The overnight blizzard was the reason I had taken the baby and gone to the new apartment ahead of time. By morning the snow was a foot deep in the shallow places but three feet where it had drifted. Baby parked in a showdrift on a blanket, well muffled in a snow suit, I dug hard for over an hour. I wasn't sorry the truck was running late because it took me almost an hour and a half to get a spot it could fit into. I moved enough cubic snow to mass what a couple of cars did.

Then I took the baby inside, putting the kitchen chair in the spot I had dug. When I came back ten minutes later my kitchen chair was gone and a car was in the spot. Our rented moving truck ended up double parking to unload, of course. I believe people may have called the cops on us but they were so busy with every street in the city clogged that they never came out. And I ended eating standing up for the next couple of months including Christmas dinner as we only had the other kitchen chair so we both couldn't sit down to eat at the same time.


Where I live now we own a house without a driveway. There is a patch of grass where we have parked, but it drops just the other side of the sidewalk and a car parking on my grass can get very stuck, spinning its wheels if it has rained or snowed. Beside me is a building with two flats and a paved driveway that could fit two cars and an apron. My upstairs neighbours have two vehicles, his work truck that leaves at ten to six a.m. and her small car that leaves at a quarter to nine to take her daughter to school that starts at eight-forty. She doesn't want to park in the driveway because that means that she would also have to get up at ten to six to move her car so that he could back the work truck out. Instead she parks squarely in front of my front door.

If she parked where I have lawn two cars would fit. I'm not sure why she doesn't. It could be because their driveway is narrow and parking there would make it more narrow. The problem I have with this is that she does not like it when I take my garbage out. Every two weeks I have to bring my garbage to the curb and that is too close to her car n matter which side I put it. - She never puts garbage out. Her husband takes all their garbage with him every morning and puts it in the dumpster at work. So this means that she doesn't understand garbage and how it works. In fact, she doesn't consider it reasonable to take the garbage from out of her car into her apartment. Instead she dumps it in front of my house. it's generally three or so sets of McDonald's wrappers and cups per week, plus a periodic pint of cigarette butts and ash. This gets poured on the grass right beside my front walk. The nicotine concentration is so high that after eight years the plants in that corner have died and there is no grass to conceal the butts. It started out as herbs once. She's very possessive of her parking spot. She has suggested that I should take my garbage down one house length and pile it up on the spot that my neighbour on the other side uses in front of his house, because it is too close to her car otherwise. But I continue to put it in front of my property where I have grass. I like my neighbour on the other side. I wouldn't want to presume on him.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:19 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, there is definitely a time limit on snow emergency parking dibs. You don't get your spot for all of January, but a couple days until more spots get shoveled and the plows come through a few more times? I'm okay with that. There are also a lot of people who rely on the kindness of strangers to dig out their cars and can't actually do it themselves. It's one thing to get a neighbor to dig your spot out once, but there's a limit to that.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:21 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Using cones or other implements to reserve parking space for moving vehicles or large delivery trucks is A-OK because otherwise those trucks will be, as evidenced above, blocking the entire street, which is no good for anyone anywhere.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:24 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I guess by the same logic free roads are silly, or really any public good is. You should pay for anything you want to use. The libertarians have it right.

There's a big difference between using public streets to move people and goods from place to place and storing private property on those public streets.
posted by asperity at 8:25 AM on August 14 [20 favorites]


I would bet a significant amount of money that Mr. Rogers himself once lost his shit over parking.

There actually was an episode where Mr. Rogers went to traffic court to challenge a parking ticket.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:27 AM on August 14 [15 favorites]


Ah, parking, such a visceral reaction.

I live in an apartment very near to a large combination transit center and park and ride lot in Seattle. A reserved parking space at most of the apartments around ranges from $0 to $150, based on my research, so that park and ride lot stays roughly 2/3rds full at night with all of the cars parked there from the surrounding apartments.

Last month, Metro announced that they're converting half of that lot's spaces to paid permit parking and people in my apartment building lost their minds. I know at least two people who sent letters to Metro complaining heavily about Metro taking away "their" parking. (Incidentally, parking where I live costs $25/month for access to the garage or $65 for a reserved, numbered space.)

This is where I get to be a tiny bit smug because I deliberately moved next to a transit center so I could give up my car...
posted by fireoyster at 8:30 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


There actually was an episode where Mr. Rogers went to traffic court to challenge a parking ticket.
With only a dollar bill in his pocket, he went inside a drug store for change to pay the parking meter. While he was inside, the meter maid wrote him a parking ticket. Clearly upset, Mister Rogers sings What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel.
OMG
posted by asperity at 8:31 AM on August 14 [39 favorites]


Free on-street parking is silly. If you own a car, you should have to park it on your property or rent space for it somewhere.

Oh great, another way to fleece not-rich people! Maybe the money collected can be earmarked for subsidizing charter schools or some similarly noble cause.
posted by treepour at 8:36 AM on August 14 [14 favorites]


Free on-street parking is silly. If you own a car, you should have to park it on your property or rent space for it somewhere.
So I get to cut the lock off of any bikes attached to any public property and take them to the crusher? Because that's silly.

Theoretically free on-street parking benefits residents and local businesses. Residents because their friends and relatives can visit them, businesses because customers. But the temptation to charge for parking is big for cities, because the cost is not obvious to their residents and ... free money!
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 8:38 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


In places where there's more demand for places to store cars than there is space to store cars, there are two possible outcomes.

One is that the parking is free, with little or no incentive to move cars. This results in people who want to park their cars circling for blocks. The negative externalities of this approach are demonstrated above, colorfully.

Another possibility is that street parking is priced so that there is an incentive for people to move their cars regularly. The idea here is that appropriate pricing would allow people to park when needed, but keep a couple of spaces open on any given block. There are even "smart" parking systems that can adjust prices dynamically to handle different demands.

Local businesses tend to complain a lot about losing free street parking in front of their doors, but they're a lot more likely to make actual sales when those spaces turn over regularly than they are when people are just leaving their cars there all day.
posted by asperity at 8:44 AM on August 14 [15 favorites]


Using cones or other implements to reserve parking space for moving vehicles or large delivery trucks is A-OK because otherwise those trucks will be, as evidenced above, blocking the entire street, which is no good for anyone anywhere.

It continues to baffle me that in NYC, the national capital of double and triple parking, there has yet to be widespread implementation of Fucking Loading Zones.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:47 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


It continues to baffle me that in NYC, the national capital of double and triple parking, there has yet to be widespread implementation of Fucking Loading Zones.

Yeah, moving out of NYC was a real treat thanks to their being no mechanism to get a temporary permit for the moving truck, coupled with living on 3rd Ave where you cannot double-park and then tripled with a water main project that removed most of the existing parking. It was super mega awesome.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:56 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Last month, Metro announced that they're converting half of that lot's spaces to paid permit parking

It's a real problem. People need to get around, and a mismanaged system does no one any good. Seattle Metro is getting rid of a bus stop in front of a newly constructed apartment building up the block from where I live. At the same time, the city is giving developers across Seattle permits to demolish properties and construct new apartments without mandating onsite parking, leaving taxpayers to play musical chairs over fewer spots. Property and car tab taxes keep going up to pay for public transit, but the transit service, parking options, and traffic all keep getting worse.

It's easy to tell taxpayers not to use a car to get around the city, but how do you get to your job, to medical appointments, to do food shopping, etc. when the city is working hard to take away alternatives, while also making people pay more for less?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:01 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Theoretically free on-street parking benefits residents and local businesses. Residents because their friends and relatives can visit them, businesses because customers. But the temptation to charge for parking is big for cities, because the cost is not obvious to their residents and ... free money!

Free parking does not exist, in the same way a square circle does not exist. People always have and are paying for that parking.

Some of it through other sources of tax revenue and business revenue -- in which case people who don't or can't have cars are subsidizing people who do, which is almost always a subsidy from the poor to the rich. In areas of high parking demand, people pay for the parking through wasting time queuing, circling the block, and walking farther than they want to -- the first two of these are terrible for the environment, causing a lot of pollution and congestion for no transportation benefit, and the third disproportionately affects those with less physical mobility.

Sometimes, people pay for free parking through lack of improvements -- "what about the parking" is the centre square on NIMBY bingo, which blocks improvements to other forms of transportation (like cycle and transit facilities) as well as denser development that might help housing affordability. Again, these improvements would benefit the poor overall, so again this is a subsidy from the poor to the not-poor.

Only very occasionally is parking actually just paid for by the people who use it, which seems remarkable in an ostensibly capitalist society.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:09 AM on August 14 [22 favorites]


PS —Fucken Joey Gibson is not from Portland. Someone is paying to literally bus these neanderthals in from Vancouver.
posted by Skwirl at 9:09 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


It drives my husband CRAZY when people park in front of our house who are not coming to visit us, and I don't get it at all. We have a driveway, we don't drive very much, a visitor can park behind our cars in our driveway without a problem (two if they block the sidewalk). And it's just, like, not a crisis situation, but he thinks it's VERY RUDE to park in front of someone else's house instead of the person you're there to visit. Now, when our neighbors who had parking for one car had SIX cars, one of which was a junker that couldn't move, and two of which were driven by teenagers who were a) shitty at street parking and b) SO NOISY AT ALL HOURS, okay, that got legit annoying, because the street was narrow and it was impossible to get in and out of our driveway because teenagers were always half-blocking it and then going to their cars at 3 a.m. WHILE SHOUTING HILARIOUS OBSCENITIES AT THE TOPS OF THEIR LUNGS, that was annoying. But he gets all wound up about someone who's visiting someone across the street or around the corner parking in front of our house.

I save my annoyance for a) the enormous quantity of lawn service trucks who PARK IN FRONT OF THE FIRE HYDRANT and b) people who pull into a driveway and honk for someone to come out. USE YER FUCKEN CELL PHONE instead of waking up the whole neighborhood!

When I was growing up my mother felt that honking in residential neighborhoods was unforgivably rude, both because it disturbs the neighbors and because proper manners dictate you go to the door to get the person you're picking up, so we were not allowed to go out to the car if someone honked. So usually I'd watch for the car and dash out before the person could honk, but now and then I wasn't quite ready and my ride would get there and honk, and then I was trapped in the house, SQUIRMING WITH SHAME AND FRUSTRATION, while they honked louder and louder and I looked hopelessly out the window until they got irritated enough to get out of the car and come to the door and see why I wasn't coming out when they honked. This was before cell phones so I couldn't even call and be like "Dude, my mom wouldn't let me come out now that you honked unless you come to the door."

I always swore I would not turn into my mother about this, but I clearly have. Although IN MY DEFENSE people have cell phones now and can CALL instead of HONKING LIKE THEY WERE RAISED IN A BARN BY VERY ANGRY GEESE.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:14 AM on August 14 [24 favorites]


Why on earth would someone whose driveway could accommodate however many cars park on the street instead of their own driveway?

Little white Mazda is in the street right now even though our driveway has room for both because

(1) It's just more convenient
(2) The driveway holds both, but in tandem, so this way we don't have to switch cars around
(3) Our driveway is pretty beat up and the apron down to the street is *really* fucked up, so unless I take it slow and careful and on an angle the little Mazda tends to bottom-out on the way up the driveway. Getting a new driveway this fall yay/boo.

But this is in inner-suburb Buffalo so worst case street parking means parking a couple houses away

lookit that fancy typing with as it turns out the same keyboard but yanked out and put back!
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:17 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I moved into a close-to-downtown apartment about two years ago and went to fucken City Services and paid, I think about $60 for a two-day permit to "own" a few of the free street parking spaces for the day my moving truck showed up. They gave me some fucken signs to put up, and I was responsible for getting my own fucken cones.

People were outraged. People stole our cones multiple times, ripped down the signs multiple times, parked there anyway. I would have gleefully towed anyone at that point, but I didn't want to deal with finding a different fucken space for the moving truck while I waited for a tow truck.

Instead, I took a fold up camp chair and literally sat sentry on the curb from 7am until our truck showed up. And then the parking authority came by to check my permit because some asshole called the cops on us. Like I still can't figure out if people thought we just made up fake signs or were just that fucken mad about the parking.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:18 AM on August 14 [20 favorites]


A fun bit of nostalgia for those in Washington DC in the 80s.
That's the last time I had on-street parking, just 2 blocks from UDC. Nostalgia indeed.
posted by MtDewd at 9:22 AM on August 14


It's easy to tell taxpayers not to use a car to get around the city, but how do you get to your job, to medical appointments, to do food shopping, etc. when the city is working hard to take away alternatives, while also making people pay more for less?

A few years ago (while I was enormously pregnant in the middle of a heat wave to boot) two things happened almost over night and simultaneously: the city increased parking meter fees enormously in areas of high demand (i.e. where I work) and the port authority reduced bus routes. I don't know what they thought people were supposed to do. Not everyone can bike (especially not here where the topography can be extreme and the roads were built before cars were a thing let alone bike lanes), so, like, what? I have to go to work now, not 5 years from now when the planning and transit departments get around to improving access.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:26 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


soren_lorensen, I too used to work in Oakland, and yeah, I distinctly remember being told at employee orientation to get on the parking garage waitlist now, even if you don't currently drive to work, if you think you might want to drive to work within the next several years. For the privilege of a hefty monthly fee, of course!
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:32 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Owning a car seems stressful.
posted by Automocar at 9:44 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


I'm reminded of the scene in The Parking Lot Movie where the attendant tells the driver there's no room for their car-
Like you could almost see the truncated syllogism in their head, like 'I bought the car... how could there not be a place to park it? Surely it comes with a parking space.'
posted by MtDewd at 9:49 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Having to be certain places at certain times in locations with imperfect transit systems is stressful. I'd be way more stressed out if I didn't own a car because it would take 3 buses and 90 minutes to get my kid the 4 miles to school in the morning (serious can't-get-there-from-here problem with the bus routes between our house and his school and we have Weather and Hills here that makes biking challenging and also disabled and elderly people exist). And why can't my kid take the school bus? Because I have to be at work at 8:30 and his school bus arrives to pick the kids in our neighborhood up at 8:45. I mean, people are doing our best with what we've got here.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:50 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I guess by the same logic free roads are silly, or really any public good is. You should pay for anything you want to use. The libertarians have it right.

What public good is being served by allowing people to leave their personal property on the public right-of-way?
posted by Automocar at 9:51 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


People being able to get to their jobs and earn money? People being able to spend that money at stores? People being able to get an education? Those are generally considered public goods.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:55 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


In the case of King County Metro, they’re converting half of the spaces to paid (but only until 10am, after which anyone can use them) because otherwise the park and rides at issue were filling up at or before 7am so this way people can choose to pay with time or money, and they get a free permit if they carpool to the park and ride.

I know that everyone can’t live without a car but, in my experience, transit has gotten better overall, not worse. That’s not to say that individual experiences are all universally better but compared to a decade ago our system is much improved.

At least in Seattle, we are physically out of room to build more roads and they wouldn’t help anyway but people don’t follow the traffic laws for transit priority so you wind up with that lady at 6th and Olive taking matters in her own hand.
posted by fireoyster at 10:00 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


People being able to get to their jobs and earn money? People being able to spend that money at stores? People being able to get an education? Those are generally considered public goods.

But requiring that people doing those things own a car, or pretending that they have to, is certainly not a public good.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:05 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


If I lived in a place where it snowed, I would take special pleasure in turning the chore of shoveling the pavement by dumping the snow on parked cars.

I don't care if it would be more work. Just bury the blasted things!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 10:08 AM on August 14


But requiring that people doing those things own a car, or pretending that they have to, is certainly not a public good.

Exactly. Pretty much everyone in America has some form of Stockholm Syndrome about cars.
posted by Automocar at 10:13 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


PS —Fucken Joey Gibson is not from Portland. Someone is paying to literally bus these neanderthals in from Vancouver.

Words hurt Skwirl.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:17 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


> The Card Cheat: "On a street in the Beach, someone has painted in their own parking spaces"
That's genius; wish I'd done that when I lived in town. There was room for 2 cars in front of my house, and idiots would park in the center. dick move.

I made a notice politely asking people to not block my driveway, noting the date, car, license plate, and the city ordinance. 2nd offense, I'd call the cops. It takes them ages, cause they have other stuff to do, and they hate to have people towed, but will ticket. It's a community, people have to figure out how to be decent to each other. Blocking the driveway, even partially, is not okay. Cars have power steering, it's not that hard to park adequately. I have a job, classes, appts. to get to, too.

Also, the reddit stuff is hilarious and almost makes me want to live in Portland West. nah.
posted by theora55 at 10:21 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I don't think people in this thread or people in general would disagree that better investment and access to public transit is a net public good. But people still need to shop, live, work, etc. in the 10+ years it would realistically take to do a major overhaul of even "decent" public transit systems. Making it (more) exorbitantly expensive to park your car somewhere isn't going to ease the middle-class burden during that time.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:21 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


I know that everyone can’t live without a car but, in my experience, transit has gotten better overall, not worse.

I ride the bus every day for work and have ridden Metro for the last seven years. In that time, I've have my bus route threatened to be cut twice: once before the tax windfall, and once again after the tax windfall. We are having bus stops removed near us, and buses are now constantly late. The route I can use is packed at rush hour, and buses are sometimes so filled that they skip stops. This, too, is after the tax windfall. I don't necessarily need a car, but lately I have had to use car share and per-minute rentals, because I can't rely on the bus showing up on time, but I still need to meet people at set times of the day. The city is also discussing closing a major bridge into the area I live in. Again, I don't need a car, but I don't know how the city plans to run the three major bus routes that support this neighborhood, if they have no bridge to cross, and they are zoning and encouraging development that limits car parking. It's almost as if they don't want us living here.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:25 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


nakedmolerats, I agree with you, but just look at New York City. There is currently no residential parking permitting program--it's a complete free-for-all (literally.) Most New Yorkers do not own cars, and of the ones that do, most of them don't use them on a day-to-day basis. And yet, outside of commercial streets with metered parking, you can leave your car on the street, free of charge, indefinitely, as long as you move it for street sweeping. This incentivizes exactly the sort of behavior we should be disincentivizing.

I don't think it's too much to ask New Yorkers that own cars to pay $100 a month to park them on the street. The real goal is not to raise revenue--it's to disincentivize people from owning cars they don't really need. This is a vital need as we are in the midst of a climate emergency.

Additionally, Donald Shoup has done a lot of great work showing that free, ample parking is the vector by which people choose to drive (or not.) By making parking just a bit less attractive, they will drive a little less, and every little percentage decrease in people driving means they'll get around another way, which increases alternative transit modeshares, which puts pressure on the government to make those alternatives more and more attractive options.

I think this is true for a lot of cities in this country--I live in Philadelphia without a car, very easily. I know people that in Boston, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, even Los Angeles, without a car. Is this doable, right now, for everyone? No, of course not. But there's a lot of low-hanging fruit out there.
posted by Automocar at 10:36 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]


I wish cities would put up long term parking facilities at remote but transit accessible locations, so that people who don't use their cars daily, but who can't get rid of them entirely, could leave their cars at a safe spot on the city's perimeter instead of messing around with trying to park in crowded downtown streets.

When I lived in downtown DC, I actually had access to parking, but driving from outside the city to inside it was AWFUL, and I would have much rather left my car on the outskirts and taken the train in.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:39 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Lower income people are being pushed further and further outside of the urban cores where the better jobs are. If you live in the city, bully for you, walk, bike and bus to your heart's content, but living in "walkable" areas is expensive because that very walkability is seen by a lot of people as the amenity that it is. Bus routes that go waytheheckout to where houses cost $65k take a long time to wend their way into town, and run much less frequently because population density is less out there. But our city runs on the backs of nursing assistants and janitors and child care workers that need to get from waytheheckout where they can afford to live into town where they can at least eke out $13/hour, and are often working long hours on non-standard shifts. Acting like everyone who drives a car in a city is Fatcat McMoneybags only doing it because they enjoy contributing to climate change is just being willfully ignorant about how a lot of people live.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:46 AM on August 14 [12 favorites]


This will be my last reply because I don't want to either get too passionate/personal (I am very passionate about public transit) or come across as a shill for King County Metro or Sound Transit any more than I'm pretty sure I already have.

brains out, I assume you mean Magnolia. From what I perceive, the debate is less about closing the Magnolia Bridge—that's in dire need of repair—and more about who's going to pay for it and if a full replacement is financially prudent or if the other bridge can sustain the load. I have no knowledge of large-scale bus stop removals in Magnolia or elsewhere and couldn't quickly find information on that to reply, so I'll take your word for it.

As for Metro and crowded buses and tax windfalls: Seattle has been trying to buy more bus service from Metro than Metro can provide. They (Metro) are physically out of buses, drivers, and places to put buses, even with the added tax money from Seattle. Crush-loaded routes that pass stops are still supposed to have added capacity and relief is supposed to be coming once the newest class of drivers are fully-trained on the 60' bendy buses that carry the most number of people. The opening of Northgate Link, to free up more buses and service hours, will also benefit in-city transit users immensely.

The root of Metro's funding problem is that its funding sources aren't stable as they rely primarily on the highly-volatile sales tax and the much-derided fees added to car tabs. (In fact, this November, voters statewide are going to be given the chance to cut the legs out from under Puget Sound transit, ferries, Amtrak, and rural road programs with yet another crappy Eyman initiative.) We need that to be more stable so Metro can build a 20-year plan, not a 5-year one that gets upended if the economy goes in the shitter.

Metro, Community, Pierce, and Sound Transits are all trying. They spend thousands of service hours per-day sitting in traffic that's primarily made up of single-occupant vehicles. Drivers of those vehicles flaunt bus lanes, stop in bus stops, and so on. We have to make more efficient use of the space we have and, yes, the City of Seattle both helps and hurts those efforts (helps in that we paint bus lanes, hurts in that our police don't enforce them). Areas of lower-density are always going to be harder to serve but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be served.

I still stand by that transit, overall, in Puget Sound, is leaps and bounds better than it was; heck, just the overhaul of the Night Owl network away from the spaghetti mass it was has made me thrilled. I'm happy to take MeMail if people want (non-judgmental) help seeing if there's a way they might not have thought of that they can use transit here for more of their trips.

Thank you, and good night.
*ORCA reader beep*
posted by fireoyster at 10:47 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Making it (more) exorbitantly expensive to park your car somewhere isn't going to ease the middle-class burden during that time.

But making it free and unlimited is no damn good. Cities generally should do things like limit the number of permits per household, charge more than a token amount for those permits, limit parking to one side of the street, run bike/scooter lanes up the sides formerly used for parking, and meter all on-street parking in business areas. Ideally, how much you pay for parking would be linked to how much money you've got: squeeze people who can afford it.
posted by pracowity at 10:50 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


One of the most frustrating things about these conversation is that every single proposal for a way to make things even slightly less terrible for anyone who's not driving a car is immediately shut down as totally impossible and unjust verging on immoral. We can't convert street parking into bike lanes because not everyone bikes. We can't create pedestrian-only corridors because it's imagined that this might be less convenient for people with mobility issues. We can't increase the cost of either driving or parking because that hurts the poorest drivers disproportionately. We can't reduce the amount of required parking in new construction because parking is already a serious problem anywhere this would be introduced. We can't shift investment in roads to investment in public transit because the roads are terrible and also we're told that no one uses public transit anyway so it's all a waste of money. We can't increase ticketing of bad drivers because this also hurts the poorest drivers and unleashes the police state on vulnerable populations. We can't take pedestrian and biker death seriously because bikers are maniacs and pedestrians are all on their phones, so it's their fault they got killed.

There's validity to many of these objections, but no one seems to have an alternative other than doing nothing, accepting that thousands upon thousands of people will die every year in this country because of cars, and wait for global warming to kill us all because we couldn't find a way to do anything about any of it.
posted by Copronymus at 10:52 AM on August 14 [30 favorites]


We can't reduce the amount of required parking in new construction because parking is already a serious problem anywhere this would be introduced.

Not to mention the fact that parking minimums increase the cost of housing.
posted by Automocar at 10:56 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Well, it's no parakeet race, but it'll do 'till one comes along.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:58 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


but no one seems to have an alternative other than doing nothing, accepting that thousands upon thousands of people will die every year in this country because of [...]

You will pry those steering wheels from their cold, dead hands.
posted by pracowity at 10:58 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


We can't reduce the amount of required parking in new construction because parking is already a serious problem anywhere this would be introduced.

Recent study results - 1/3 of multifamily parking goes unused in Cambridge.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:59 AM on August 14


I'm actually surprised to hear that about NYC because in the cities I've lived that was not my perspective. Most residents had to buy neighborhood-specific permits to park on the street longer than 2hrs. And almost everyone paid (a lot) to park during the day if they worked in the city.
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:02 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I grew up in a densely populated part of Chicago (interestingly, I don't remember people claiming dibs on shoveled spots much), but now live in Austin.

In Chicago, you felt like you had won the lottery if you found a parking spot on your block. By comparison, people in Austin are weirdly territorial about parking. Really weird.

The height of weirdness for me came at a neighborhood-association meeting where a restaurant was seeking the neighborhood's blessing to have less than the mandated number of off-street parking spots. My SO and I were the only people in the room in favor of that, but the really weird part was someone who had moved out of the neighborhood due to all the on-street parking who showed up at the meeting just to voice his opposition to the restaurant's request.
posted by adamrice at 11:02 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


But our city runs on the backs of nursing assistants and janitors and child care workers that need to get from waytheheckout where they can afford to live into town where they can at least eke out $13/hour, and are often working long hours on non-standard shifts. Acting like everyone who drives a car in a city is Fatcat McMoneybags only doing it because they enjoy contributing to climate change is just being willfully ignorant about how a lot of people live.

The bottom 10% in America comprise 41% of carless households. Poor people don't drive.
posted by Automocar at 11:05 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


We're just riffing on cones to stop from crying about the stupid shit that's predicted to happen this weekend with the Proud Boys. Actually I wonder how I can use the fuken come meme during the protest? Cone hat? Surround the fascists with cones?

Here's a link to a search for fucken cones at r/portland
posted by vespabelle at 11:26 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Using cones or other implements to reserve parking space for moving vehicles or large delivery trucks is A-OK because otherwise those trucks will be, as evidenced above, blocking the entire street, which is no good for anyone anywhere.

in that specific situation i would take extremely great relish in telling everyone that i had dug out the spot with an infant in my arms (brandishing infant) and put out a chair specifically to avoid blocking the entire street with a truck but someone had come along (pointing to the parked car) and not only stolen the spot but also stolen one of the only two chairs that i owned (baby is clandestinely poked to start it crying at this point), please, if anyone knows whose car that is (gesturing with crying baby) please ask them to return my only chair, i can't sit now (i too am now crying, loudly, embarrassingly). ideally by the end of this award winning performance the spot/chair stealer is dragged from their home by a bloodthirsty mob and hurled into an abyss. i make a new chair from their bones.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:31 AM on August 14 [12 favorites]


Came for the fucken memes, stayed for the fucken class war.
posted by rodlymight at 11:44 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


It was glorious watching this unfold on /r/portland,

I don't have time to look up the comment but last time we had a rousing bout of car vs. everything, somewhere I did bunch of calculations trying to compare the basic material costs and miles of accessible cars/road vs. trains/rail.

The goal was to see how many miles of accessible rails and rolling stock vs. public paved roads and private vehicle ownership if we did something really crazy and, say, converted all of the metal in private cars and roads into rails and rolling stock. If I'm remembering correctly I even busted out Wolfram Alpha to help me do some of the math.

I weighted this very heavily in favor of private cars and public roads in the US based on a lot of relatively recent data, and one of the weights in favor of cars was undercounting total vehicle weight by letting cargo trucks and heavy duty vehicles be counted as the low average weight of a basic sedan or 4 door passenger car. I didn't even include accessory materials like service stations, parking structures, road signage and related infrastrucutre.

On the rail side of the equation I overcounted materials costs for rails per mile, allowing for an excess of rolling stock and trains, aiming to model a heavily built out modern passenger rail system.

I did not include personal or accessory support staff, but I also think it would be reasonable to expect that the employment base for private cars and roads would be much larger than this theoretical total rail solution. Also, automated total train control systems would be a lot easier than self driving cars.

I also did not include, say medical and health care costs of cars vs. trains, or health costs of pollution or global warming, but we can safely assume the private vehicle costs exceed trains on these costs so much that the numbers would look silly. One could assume there would/should be a significant cost savings for health insurance and the healthcare industry.

Anyway, the results came out to something overwhelmingly ridiculous like 2-3x the amount of rail track mileage than the entire paved road system of the US and private car ownership we have now, and that 3-4x sized rail would basically be saturated with service, likely 24/7.

Think about that for a moment. Replace every road you know with 2-3 times more rail with service. You'd practically have the same door to door pathway to anywhere in the US. Every road you know is now a trolley, light rail, intercity or trans continental high speed line, with multiple dedicated passenger networks separated from rail freet.

Obviously, we might need less roads/trolley because it would be too much! So maybe think about every other road in your neighborhood replaced with more yard or greenbelts. Imagine reclaiming most of the land used for freeways in cities. You could afford to make local mobility and accessibility a focus. There could be neighborhood electric cargo carts and mini-shuttles to, say, get a huge load of groceries home, or help someone get to the trolley.

You could, say, get a hankering to go camping or visit another city one weekend at the drop of a hat, and you could get on a trolley on your block, transfer to intracity light rail, end up at a high speed regional intercity station and ride rails all the way into, say, a national park or out into the deep countryside. Or all the way to grandma's house for the weekend. You might even get to where you're going faster, because no parking, no refueling, no traffic jams.

It would not be unreasonable to expect that with this kind of saturated, heavily developed service that sleeper cabins on long haul high speed red eyes would be common and feasible, so it might even be preferable and more comfortable than current high security airline flight. Instead of slogging through an airport you have a nice dinner and a nap and wake up all away across the country.

There's a paradox in the freedom that private cars offer, and a lot of hidden costs.
posted by loquacious at 11:46 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


I was going to post earlier but I’ve been squad deep in the clack. Last winter here in St Paul we got so much snow that they just straightup banned on-street parking. Snow emergency plowing is already an arcane bit of alchemy between the cities of Minneapolis/St Paul and last year it included figuring out where parking was banned, or which side was banned and who knows what else. Epic. It was 99% of the talk of the neighborhood boards. Now that it’s summer and 150F Fahrenheit talk has resumed to be all about trash hauling.
posted by misterpatrick at 11:49 AM on August 14


Okay, maybe you're not in the bottom 10%, but you're an admin assistant in the city. You make $16 an hour. You have a 10-year old Toyota Camry. You live in the suburbs, and you haven't been able to find a job closer to home or vice versa. You can take public transit for a 2-hour commute every day, or you can drive for a 1-hour one. Maybe even 1.5 with traffic. How much is that extra half hour worth? Plus not having to be on a crowded bus for 2 hours?

This is not an easily-wrapped parable but these are actual numbers from some of my former colleagues and I do not know what the most morally correct answer is for these people while we do hope for and work for better transit options.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:02 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


the solution is the fish tube
posted by poffin boffin at 12:07 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


Cones don't hold a candle to NY millionaire dude who installed a fake underground garage door in the bottom of his building and a driveway to it that he parks in front of but if anyone else parks in front of, his doorman calls the tow truck on.
posted by dobbs at 12:19 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


I hear you, nakedmolerats. The honest answer is that it's just a shitshow. We didn't get into this problem overnight--it was a series of conscious decisions made over decades, and fixing the built environment isn't going to happen overnight, either. But we can't continue to do nothing.
posted by Automocar at 12:27 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


In the Chicago suburbs we're getting express buses, which will be bright purple and called "Pulse." (The normal bus livery is blue and white.) They're going to run on heavily-trafficked corridors, make limited stops that link up with the rest of the network serving more traditional routes, and -- this is the coolest part -- the buses can "talk" to the traffic lights like emergency vehicles can and so will run on a green-light corridor where all the lights will turn green for the express bus.

I think it's actually pretty neat; it will be supplementing -- not replacing -- the buses currently on those roads, and they'll be pushing express service, high frequency, real-time location/time data, and nice buses with wifi etc. Since those are heavily-trafficked corridors already, the ridership is there, and they're adding a "premium" service that might lure middle class people out of their cars, without disrupting the network that lower-income people rely on.

The first route isn't anywhere I need to go, but I may go ride it anyway just to see the green light corridor thing in action. When they open the next route, which runs Evanston to O'Hare, I'm going to definitely look at giving it a try for getting to O'Hare, depending on where the convenient stop are to me!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:35 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


I do not know what the most morally correct answer is for these people while we do hope for and work for better transit options.

Public transportation will be unsatisfactory when only the poorest 5 or 10 percent use it. It will get better when more of the average car drivers are nudged out of their cars and on to buses and trains.
posted by pracowity at 12:39 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Okay, maybe you're not in the bottom 10%, but you're an admin assistant in the city. You make $16 an hour. You have a 10-year old Toyota Camry. You live in the suburbs, and you haven't been able to find a job closer to home or vice versa. You can take public transit for a 2-hour commute every day, or you can drive for a 1-hour one. Maybe even 1.5 with traffic. How much is that extra half hour worth? Plus not having to be on a crowded bus for 2 hours?

You live in the suburbs because there's not enough housing in the city, because it can't be built because there's no place to put the parking required for that housing. Your public transit commute is slow because there's no bus lanes, because putting them in would require taking out parking. Parking downtown is massively subsidized (if it wasn't, it'd be expensive enough to figure into your calculation). Because of this, lots of other people drive because they don't have to pay hundreds of dollars a month to store their car to save that half hour.

If they had to pay the actual cost to store the car they used, a lot of them would consider taking transit instead. With all of these new riders, the transit system would start running more frequent and more direct buses. If the transit system had better service and dedicated lanes, there would be even more riders. Eventually, all these riders (and voters) get a light rail line put in; now, you have a 45 minute train ride, with 10 minute walks on either end. Your doctor compliments you on your improved health thanks to the walk, you learn a new skill during the commute and get a better paid job, and the value of your suburban house goes up by 20% thanks to the proximity to transit.

Instead of this, your driving and parking are being subsidized by the janitor who makes $8 an hour and can't afford a car, as well as your colleague admin assistant who can't drive and is stuck on the bus behind your car.

Not a bad parable after all.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 12:40 PM on August 14 [17 favorites]


street parking is theft (of public space that could better use for protected bikelanes, brt, wider sidewalks, urban greenery, or any number of things that are not killing the planet)

thank you for coming to my ted talk
posted by entropicamericana at 12:43 PM on August 14 [12 favorites]


somebody upthread mentioned cars for hiking and accessing forests. On that note, I had the tremendous good fortune to use Seattle's "Trailhead Direct" bus program this summer as a tourist and it kicked ass and cost me a teeny tiny fraction of what it would've cost to rent a car for the same purpose.
posted by bagel at 1:23 PM on August 14 [7 favorites]


Oh okay TIL that I've been taking public transit to work for 7 years and should have bootcamped myself into a better job by now.
posted by nakedmolerats at 2:21 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I didn't include parking costs because I do take public transit, but I just looked them up for my old workplace. $92/month for a dedicated parking garage permit, but there's a years-long waiting list for those, so a lot of people drove in and paid the daily rate of $12 a day, almost every day.
posted by nakedmolerats at 2:39 PM on August 14


Oohhhhh yes, the drama of parking in front of one's house. I'm one of those annoying people with opinions! But no fucken cones, alas.

When I first moved to the apartment I live in now (one section of an old large house divided up into condos, which is the norm for this area of the city, although there's a smattering of houses that are still single-family), there was permit parking on our street because we're close to a music venue and because there's no venue parking, people will park in the neighborhood (for free!). Because of this, the city allowed the surrounding blocks to be residential-permit-only from 6pm-12am so that concert-goers wouldn't hog all the spaces that people living there needed.

While some houses have off-street parking courtesy of a carport/garage accessible from the alley, or a small driveway, there is only one of those per house and maybe 4-5 families within one house, so presumably 4-5 cars per house on average, maybe more if two people live in the same condo but drive separately (or have separate cars for different things, like my neighbor who has a van for work but also a cute lil' 3-wheel electric car for everyday stuff). So even with the permit parking, there was never a guarantee that I would be able to park directly in front of my house, but I could at least know that, even on a Friday night at 8pm, I would find some sort of space on the block.

This area, when I moved in ten years ago, was decent-ish but not exactly the greatest. But there has been a push in the past six years to seriously gentrify it, and now there are trendy, over-priced bars and restaurants and coffee shops. However, there is no parking for those bars and restaurants and coffee shops, so patrons of those establishments would have to find space on the street in the nearby neighborhood -- and apparently the business owners decided that our street, with its permit parking, wasn't being utilized to its best ability because there was always space to park! But their patrons couldn't park there without getting a ticket! So people won't park there and won't go to these businesses! Therefore the business owners are losing money! The horror!

A few years ago, they wanted to remove the permit parking for our street, but enough of us cranky "NOT MY FUCKEN CONES PARKING SPOT" neighbors pushed back and they shelved that idea. Until last year, when the business owners successfully pushed it through, and now I regularly have to circle a few blocks to find a spot if I decide to do anything after work or on the weekends that will have me coming home after 5pm. There's now a 2-hour parking limit (but we still have permits that exempt us) that expires as 6pm, which is utterly pointless because the purpose of the original permit was because the parking issue happened in the evening, not during the day.

At least we still have permits that allow us to (technically not legally since our permits are only for the street in front of our house, but it's the same permit code, so we do it anyway) on a street that has the old 6pm-midnight restrictions, so if my street is packed I'll just end up parking there (where there's always at least one or two spaces free) and cut through the alley. It's super annoying, especially when one of the reasons this apartment was so appealing when I first moved in was because of the permits making it easier for me to park in front of my house (my first apartment in the suburbs was pretty janky and I'm much happier in the city, but not gonna lie, I still miss the free, dedicated, carport spot that was included with the apartment, where I never had to worry about finding a spot or cleaning off my car after a snow storm!).

But I'm learning to deal with it. Although there is still a special rage I feel when I see that some yahoo has parked in such a way that it takes up two spaces when the area in front of our house easily fits three cars.

Oh and I did look into public transport for my daily commute when I started a new job that was only 6 miles from my house, but realized that it would take about two hours and at least 2 connections, because there was no easy way via public transport to get past the major freeways intersecting the route. My car will get me there in twenty minutes.

But I definitely reconsider plans sometimes when I've parked directly in front of my house and know that, if I leave, I will lose that precious spot.
posted by paisley sheep at 2:42 PM on August 14


Metafilter: make a new chair from their bones

One of my mother's neighbours was really protective of the spot in front of his house. During one Christmas dinner I'd parked there and he dragged my van out into the street with a chain to free up the space. His across the street neighbour observed and reported this and he had a nice chat with a couple cops including a three day roadside suspension for DUI.

My house is in an old suburb which is now right at the edge of the secondary business district of my city. So lots on my side of the street are 60' wide (50' on the other side) and houses on this side have at least a single 50' driveway and most have double drives (I can park four cars in my driveway for example). There are also two street spots in front of my house, two at my right neighbour's house and (because of a fire hydrant) one at my left neighbours house. My side of the street is zoned duplex and most people have secondary suites. My right neighbour however seems to have either an extremely large extended family living at his house or (and this is what I'm guessing) turned his place into a four plex. Parking at his place is at a premium.

Our two lots are mirrored with our driveways on the outside. IE: it goes 20' driveway, 80' of parking (4 spots), 20' of driveway. When they first moved in they'd park whatever car they weren't using (from appearances because of malfunction) on the street. Whatever. But as time went on they edged into the spots in front of my house meaning a lack of parking for my guests (Friday nights I have 4 cars over for game sessions). At one point they had one broken down pickup occupying both the spots in front of my house. Now I'm annoyed and I got all passive aggressive. I started parking right at the edge of my property still leaving an open space in front of my house but one you have to walk pass my car to get to. Shortly before my guests would arrive I'd move to the driveway and then back on the street next time I drove anywhere. They started parking in front of the other neightbour's place and parking on the boulevard in front of their house. Again whatever. After a month or so I went back to parking in my driveway and they haven't reverted. Either a new habit has formed or they are at least aware of what they are doing and think twice.

So ya, I guess I feel a little ownership of the street spots in front of my house but mostly because their is no reason for most people to ever park there. There is a Massage business across the street and her clients sometimes park there and it's fine. When I lived someplace with scarce street parking it didn't bother me at all if neighbours parked in front of my house even if they stayed for a few days (though in theory street parking has a 48 hour limit). There is no dibs culture though. The city would remove anything left in parking spaces I think.

Why on earth would someone whose driveway could accommodate however many cars park on the street instead of their own driveway?

It's more convenient than backing into the driveway so if I'm coming and going during the day I park on the street.

I don’t get the “I shoveled the snow so I should get to park in ‘my spot’ thing.” As a person from someplace where it actually snows, I thought real cities had some kind of odd/even thing and plowed the streets.

My neighbourhood residential streets only get plowed on the fourth day after a snowfall and every time it snows the countdown resets (sometimes they take pity on us after a couple weeks of no plowing and temporarily raise our priority to send a plow down the street). And there isn't any odd even scheme (though business districts prohibit all street parking from 3AM-6AM). The plows just drive around any parked car leaving that delightful, hard as a stone, berm up against the car. When you hear a plow working the neighbourhood there is a flurry of people driving down to Tim's for an hour or so to give the plow a chance to clear the street parking in front of your house (meaning you only have to dig out the driveway crossing berm).
posted by Mitheral at 4:13 PM on August 14


It's a vicious circle whereby:

everyone is desperate for a parking spot for their car;
and so
they oppose any plan to remove street parking to make space for bicycle paths or bus lanes or tram tracks;
and so
cycling is unpleasant and dangerous, and public transport is slow;
and so
everyone has to commute by car instead;
and so
everyone is desperate for a parking spot for their car.

Everyone is stuck at a local minimum, and there's no escape via individual action — if anyone tries to switch mode then they just suffer and it doesn't help. There has to be collective political action.
posted by cyanistes at 12:31 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


somebody upthread mentioned cars for hiking and accessing forests. On that note, I had the tremendous good fortune to use Seattle's "Trailhead Direct" bus program this summer as a tourist and it kicked ass and cost me a teeny tiny fraction of what it would've cost to rent a car for the same purpose.

You can take transit from downtown Seattle all the way to Port Angeles and I think even all the way to Forks and the Hoh if you really want to push it. It kind of takes about the same amount of time as driving.

Check the maps on the bottom of the page here, they have some handy inter-transit schedules. Once you get over to Bainbridge it's all friendly rural buses.

You can also get to Deception Pass via Whidbey's transit system from downtown Seattle. Easiest way might be a Sounder to the Mulkiteo ferry.
posted by loquacious at 12:56 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


NY Post: Driver bizarrely ‘double parks’ on top of another car in New Jersey
A 54-year-old man from Connecticut attempted to parallel park.
Instead, he somehow propelled his white Toyota on top of an unoccupied Ford hatchback.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 9:44 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Oh, hey, I want to throw a nuance of the Chicago thing into the mix: saving shoveled spaces was primarily a thing in neighborhoods where there is typically plenty of street parking, except during storms nobody can get to their off-alley garages (the city doesn't plow alleys, and getting in/out requires you to shovel the full distance from your garage to the plowed street.) So saving your space is really a signal to your neighbors that you can't get into your garage/you don't have a garage so please let me use this space, and not saving the space is a signal that yeah, I also cleared out this one for a visitor/some visitor dug themselves out and left, so it is up for grabs.

That was 20 years ago, though; no idea how it is now.
posted by davejay at 1:49 PM on August 15


NY Post: Driver bizarrely ‘double parks’ on top of another car in New Jersey

I had a two-wheel-drive pickup truck while young and living in Chicago, because I am an idiot, and I once tried to shovel myself out of a parking space and ended up perpendicular to the curb with my truck facing the building and half on the lawn. Any attempt to move just made it worse because of the crowning of the road. So yeah, I totally believe this story.
posted by davejay at 1:51 PM on August 15


oh wait I just clicked the link and I had assumed he ended up on another car that was buried by plowed snow but no it was dry and light out and how even did this happen
posted by davejay at 1:52 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


Free on-street parking is silly. If you own a car, you should have to park it on your property or rent space for it somewhere.

I pay taxes for those roads to be built so no, I'm not paying more to park where I live.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:22 PM on August 15


Roads were built to move vehicles and people, not store cars.
posted by entropicamericana at 6:09 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Yes. But at 9PM there are no cars moving on my road as such I park on it til I need to go to work.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:12 PM on August 15


I'm not paying more to park where I live.

Thus, the number of cars in storage on public land goes down by one. I'm not seeing the downside.
posted by ctmf at 6:12 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Consider what people would be paying in property taxes if that additional 150-200 square feet of land were actually their parking space.

Another fun thought experiment is to take the square footage of your home and divide it by ~175 to see how many parking spaces you could fit into it. How much housing for people have we lost because we created all that housing for cars? (Don't forget the aisle width and turning radius requirements!)
posted by asperity at 6:22 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Well until and unless we can promise jobs to everyone within walking and biking distance OR build subways that go all the way to where we work, what can I do? Not work?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:28 PM on August 15


I guess you could do that, but an alternative that might allow you to eat regularly would be: understand that basically every provision we make for automobiles is an enormous tangle that we've built for the last century, and do your best to support measures to untangle that system where you can.
posted by asperity at 7:10 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I assume we'll be removing all bike racks, scooter parking zones, and the like as well? And towing any of said on public property?

I don't even use street parking (I work from home and have off street parking), but dear god anti-car people can be weird on this site.
posted by tavella at 7:30 PM on August 15


I always laugh when people get mad about (snowstorm) dibs, because it is the purest expression of the Lockian theory of property rights (that underlies the entire American system of private property) that I have ever seen!

Every piece of land is a public good, says Locke, until someone appropriates it to be private and claims ownership. And what makes that appropriation legitimate? Mixing your labor with the land, and thereby turning it from a common God-given public space with God-given minimal utility, into a USEFUL and PRODUCTIVE piece of land that is worth more now that you have labored upon it. Now Locke, of course, is thinking about crops and orchards. BUT PARKING SPOT DIBS IS THE PUREST EXPRESSION OF IT. The ACT OF GOD of the big snowstorm creates a new world in which the everything is rendered equally useless. The government plows the streets -- that's fine, now the streets belong to them -- but parking spots are ignored. You, Chicago resident, come out in front of your two flat and painstakingly shovel out a space, mixing your labor with that one lonely parking space and thereby rendering it USEFUL and VALUABLE far beyond it what it was in its state of God-given snowiness. YOU NOW HAVE A CLAIM TO OWN THAT PARKING SPACE, a claim created by your labor!, until all the snow melts and reduces the value of your parking spot back to normal, and/or until it snows again and another Act of God gives us a fresh state of nature to appropriate property from.

DIBS IS THE PUREST AMERICAN FORM OF PROPERTY RIGHTS.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:35 PM on August 15 [8 favorites]


I assume we'll be removing all bike racks, scooter parking zones, and the like as well? And towing any of said on public property?

Let's revisit that question when they take up more than a minuscule fraction of the space we devote to storing cars.
posted by asperity at 7:53 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Have you ever been to a city that has multiple dockless scooter and bike companies? Not only are vehicles taking up public space, they're taking up the exact same public space you'd like to be walking on.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:43 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I assume we'll be removing all bike racks, scooter parking zones, and the like as well? And towing any of said on public property?

One can park 10 bikes in the space occupied by one car. Bikes are less expensive, make their riders healthier, don't pollute, don't subsidize regressive regimes, don't kill 40,000 American a year, and cause virtually no wear to the roads. You tell me which is the better policy choice to subsidize with free parking.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:44 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


"The thing I like should be free" is a rather less consistent argument than the "no one should be allowed to use public space free" argument that was being used above. Particularly when the thing you like is not usable by a substantial percentage of the population, who would be essentially house-bound by your rules.
posted by tavella at 9:14 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Please remember that a significant portion of the population is unable to drive a car, and that in many places this does indeed render them housebound.
posted by asperity at 9:20 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Indeed, and I am all in favor of more and better designed bike/scooter lanes, more bike shares and bike parking, etc. But I'm not too impressed by an ideology that ignores the reverse.
posted by tavella at 9:34 PM on August 15


yes, seven different factual and quantifiable reasons why bicycles are a better transportation choice in terms of costs, impacts, and outcomes may be fairly reduced to "i like them therefore they should be free"
posted by entropicamericana at 9:38 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Forgive me for not spending a whole lot of time talking about ways to preserve the status quo. It's more than well defended, and isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
posted by asperity at 9:40 PM on August 15 [5 favorites]


the buses can "talk" to the traffic lights like emergency vehicles can and so will run on a green-light corridor where all the lights will turn green for the express bus.

This might be the one time it actually pays to be stuck behind the bus in your car.
posted by LizBoBiz at 4:01 AM on August 16


As a comment in a more recent post reminds me, streets used to be for people standing, walking, and running, for horses and carts, trams, and bicycles.

Something like that should be the goal. Maybe not horses anymore, but we should never have a street without good wide sidewalks (and trees) and bicycle lanes or shared bicycle/sidewalk space, and it should be a lot easier and safer to cross the street. Lower the speed limit of cars electronically so they can't drive faster than a bicycle on city streets, maybe 20mph/30kph, without logging your bad driving for your insurance company to see. Car drivers need to get over the idea that they own the street and it's your fault if you get in their way. And cars need to give up some of the space they've been ceded over the last century, probably at least a lane's width from the average city street. Use that space for other things: benches, trees, sidewalks, bicycles, scooters.

And with what's left of on-street parking: charge something closer to the market rate for it, not just a nominal fee, and make it a specific spot as marked by signs that say what address that spot is for. Then you would have your very own spot and you could have someone towed for parking in it, but you would pay for the privilege and you would have to shovel it out.
posted by pracowity at 4:35 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Lmao at the idea that "maybe we should talk about how we choose to massively subsidize driving by setting aside valuable public space for parking and traffic lanes" is some kind of pernicious ideology or a libertarian talking point. I promise, nobody's coming to grab your cars.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:17 AM on August 22


i am
posted by entropicamericana at 7:17 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


The assertion that started it, that parking should be universally privatized and thinking otherwise is "silly", is absolutely a libertarian instinct.

It'd just be classically dumb to do this in my area. My neighbor gets to use the public space in front of my house when he has guests, and vice versa, up and down the street, and it works out because we'll never all have guests. Privatizing those spaces would just make us all poorer.

The non-libertarian approach if you don't like the subsidy is to tax cars more, and if you just completely don't like suburbs manage the zoning radically differently. Not turn it all over to private enterprise and hope the market works it out.
posted by mark k at 7:50 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


As that person's subsequent comments make clear, the point of imagining what it would be like if the market actually set the price for parking is to make people realize how much that "free" road space is actually worth. The non-libertarian approach is not to pretend that parking is some kind of naturally-occurring renewable resource (you still have to be able to allocate resources efficiently and accurately under socialism), but instead to make better decisions about how to use public space in cities for ends that are more equitable and sustainable. For example, dedicated transit lanes allow mass transit to circumvent private road traffic, making surface transit faster and more reliable -- which in turn allows more people to use the bus as their primary mode of transportation, removing the necessity to have a car just so you won't be late to work or waste hours of your day.

There is no a priori reason that, especially in a somewhat dense city, the overwhelming majority of public road space should be dedicated to transporting or storing people's private vehicles. Taxing cars doesn't solve the problem that we have a limited amount of road space and have to decide how best to use it (and is, of course, exactly as regressive as the city charging more for parking, which is what pracowity proposed in this comment; note that he never actually said that parking should be privatized).
posted by en forme de poire at 3:13 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


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