So much twisted logic at the Planning Board meeting last week, I have no words…
Okay, that’s not true, I had lots of words but mostly everything began with WTF?
So the Planning Board last week took on the topic of Draft Zoning Plan for Alameda Point (zoning amendment whatever). Oh, quick note, City Staff referenced an article in the Alameda Sun which talked about the “disappearing park” at Alameda Point and essentially said that they had no idea to what this was referring to. Based on comments from the columnist’s blog, it appears that the discrepancy was chalked up to an issue of semantics and because the word “park” didn’t exist that meant that the park has “disappeared” even though the text made it appear that there was no designation for park/open space at all. But whatevs.
Back to the main event. So there was a presentation about parking and how Alameda Point is going to do parking differently in order to help control traffic, etc. The idea is, make parking a commodity and people will rethink their need to take a car everywhere. I don’t necessarily disagree with all the strategies that they suggested, but one of the Planning Board members did. Lorre Zuppan came out strongly against the parking strategies because people can’t take public transportation everywhere. And not everyone knows how to ride a bike. And she knows, because she takes the bus every day and once saw a guy trying to take his shopping cart (not THOSE shopping carts) on to the bus and almost got kicked off because it was too big and it was cold outside. Oh and the people who live at the Collaborative, it’s not fair for them to have to pay for parking.
First of all, given that families at the Collaborative have a low percentage of car ownership they are already taking public transportation or walking to access their destinations. These parking policies will not affect them.
Second, that dude taking the bus trying to schlep his groceries on the bus? I bet he doesn’t have a car either.
So I’m not sure how either of these anecdotes support her “don’t charge for parking because of the poors” case.
I guess the bigger problem I have is that somehow treating parking as it is — a commodity — is something that is a “threat” to drivers. I mean, we complain about the increase in traffic from development, but when there are policies to be put in place that will help limit traffic we don’t want those either because it becomes a war against drivers. We, as a society, are so hell bent on making our streets convenient for drivers that we forget that those resources should be shared for all transportation modes: biking, walking, public transportation, etc.
Then, she proceeds to go to to say that she supports some Op-Ed that ran in the Wall Street Journal about “bike wars.” The gist of the op-ed is that some dude is complaining because his city has a plan (as part of a larger community driven plan) to take out some street parking and put in a bike lane. He has a problem with that because what will happen when he needs to throw a party? Where will his guests park? Never mind that bikers may use the bike lane multiple times per day, what happens when this guy wants to throw a party perhaps — at most — once a month for a few hours. Think of his guests!
This overview by the Washington Times is good backgrounder in case you wanted to delve more into the issue.
But back to the Planning Board meeting, this last part though was when I just threw up my hands in exasperation. Planning Board member Lorre Zuppan in continuing to talk about why the parking strategies are wrong mentions that the parking rates on Park Street are too expensive and akin to San Francisco’s rates. She she said that she decided that she would rather drive into San Francisco and pay the parking there then pay the parking on Park Street.
Except for the fact that driving to San Francisco to pay the same parking rate as Park Street — which is apparently now at $2 per hour — doesn’t include the $5 toll to cross the Bay Bridge and the cost of gas and time. But I guess it’s the same if you are trying to make some nebulous point about how the parking policies are hurting Park Street business. But let’s be real here, there is no way that the Park Street meters are driving Lorre Zuppan to seek out other cities to shop in. She pretty much said months ago that she doesn’t go to Park Street anymore at certain times of the day because she can’t find any parking. What the rise in the meter rates should do is make more street parking available because people who are staying for extended periods of time tend to balk at having to pay “too much” for parking meters. Kind of like Iphone apps. But the idea is that people who truly need those spaces — people who will turnover those spots fairly quickly — will have those spots available now that the people who park there for long stretches at a time move else where, like the parking garage.