The infamous and falsely maligned parking meter had its 77th birthday yesterday. Despite the misunderstandings, the parking meter in some form or another is here to stay as a way to manage a perceived scarcity. There needs to be someway to keep those vehicles moving.
Note, it is a perceived scarcity. In a previous post titled, Got Parking? Hell Yeah, we highlighted a study that found that there are at least 500 million empty parking spaces at any given time in the United States. The majority of which are perceived free, which has consequence.
“Ninety-nine percent of automobile trips end in free parking and this has a major effect on people’s choice of what means of transportation to take.“
~ Mikhail Chester No Free Parking, Physics Central
In “The High Cost of Free Parking,” economist Donald Shoup builds an argument from the title off of the premise of applying a market rate to parking spaces to help achieve community goals (reduce congestion, raise revenue, create thriving business districts…). Communities that have followed his findings have done so because they realize that storing automobiles for 22-hours a day is never free. As he says, “just because the driver doesn’t pay for the parking, doesn’t mean the cost goes away.”
So, we are a day late, but let’s celebrate the parking meter! Happy Birthday, nickel meter.
ACTION ALERT (via Partner Mi Complete Streets): We need a strong showing to impact this current attempt to weaken state-wide progress on transit and complete streets. Contact your State Rep. (Michigan) and ask them to do everything within their power to pass a transportation budget that reflects your values and needs.
James Bruckbauer, transportation specialist at MLUI, has an excellent recap of the latest events that are being championed by a west Michigan representative intent on de-funding public transit and active transportation. James argues that this latest attack is the last thing we need in a struggling economy. James writes:
Instead of recognizing transit agencies around the state for their improved coordination, increased ridership, and overall better service, the proposals would actually punish those agencies. And, with gasoline now hovering at $4 per gallon, it would also punish many vulnerable families by reducing their access to flexible and affordable transportation options at a time when they need it more than ever to get to work, school, doctors appointments, and more.”
Please take a moment to send a short message.
The Weekly Chatter
Can you help me rename the weekly chatter? The name is tired.
- Green colored pavement for bike lanes? MUTCD ‘interim’ approval. (Bike Portland)
Get out the paint! Photo by neighborhoods —> —>
- Economic Hard times? Great time to invest in public parks (Rec. Management) ”We firmly believe that resources follow aspiration.“ Grand Traverse County would do well to listen. (R. Eagle)
- Want a budget solution? Stop building sprawl. (Urbanophile)
“What would the American economy have looked like without a massive government investment in highways?…absent a highway boom something would have been built and markets would have optimised to that something.” –like, vibrant, walkable cities.
- A lot of roads + a lots of cars = a lot of Potholes and a lot of expen$e. (minnpost)
- Time to re-consider safety & The Car: If we cared about children we would. (Strong Towns)
“The best thing we can do for the safety of our children is to get them out of the car by building mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods. Even with car seats, auto accidents are the leading cause of death amongst children over two years old.“
- RT (@YuriArtibise) More urban pedestrians are killed while legally crossing in crosswalks than while jaywalking.
- RT (@YuriArtibise) Why do we expect better design from our phones than our #cities?
- RT (@walkonomics) Riding in a car is much more dangerous than walking… And of course the most dangerous thing about walking is cars.
- RT (Maddz4planning) For people who can be car free by choice, power to you. But for low-income families, having a car provides a lot of opportunities.
- RT (jamesschwartz) Can’t say I really feel any sympathy for any of the 4,437 comments from Americans complaining about gas prices
A Tweed Ride comes to Traverse City! When? 4pm, May 21st. What is a Tweed Ride? A fun, leisurely group ride of people dressed in their best looking tweed. They are not required, but classic vintage bicycles really help the show. Typically, libations follow the parade. Follow Tweed Ride TC at its Tumblr page, on Facebook and Twitter.
If you enjoy and find value in the information and discussion that occurs on this blog, your contribution to the initiative ($5, $25, $50 or more) will generate smiles and confirmation that this work is on the right track. Thank you.
EDITOR’s NOTE: Original posted Dec. 8, 2010. Reposted as a sticky December 4, 2012.
Got parking? Hell Yeah.
Photo via Physics Central
A recent study set out to count the number of parking spots in the United States and the environmental impact of all that infrastructure. At first thought, most people wouldn’t think that the material that provides for our automobile storage would outpace material dedicated to automobile travel, but apparently, it just might. Either way, there is a tremendous cost to public space and the environment.
An engineering report, covered by PhysicsCentral.com, begins with a stark visual:
“Next time you’re searching for a parking space and someone grabs a spot from right in front of you, it might seem like the last space left on Earth, but ponder this: there are at least 500 million empty spaces in the United States at any given time.“
The study discovered that all those spaces have an eye-opening impact on the environment.
The report obviously acknowledges the impact that encouraging and subsidizing single occupant vehicles causes to increase those numbers (if it’s easy to drive, or park, we tend to drive), but also dove into the “hidden infrastructure” costs that exist with constructing and maintaining the country’s hundreds of millions (perhaps up to 2 billion *) parking spaces. Those hidden costs, often externalized by municipalities, businesses and private homes, add as much as 10% per mile in CO2 emissions for the average car and the impact increases over the life-span of the car.
The lead author of the study, Mikhail Chester, draws a Shoupista conclusion from the study, “Ninety-nine percent of automobile trips end in free parking and this has a major effect on people’s choice of what means of transportation to take.“
- Article: No Free Parking (PhysicsCentral.com)
- Study: Parking infrastructure: energy, emissions, and automobile life-cycle environmental accounting
* The report uses five inventory scenarios to explore the impacts of the wide range of possible parking space allotment in the United States. The ranges used were between 105 million and 2 billion spaces.
It’s time to take a break. Sort of.
MyWHaT officially launched on January 4th, 2010. I wasn’t sure what to call the work at the time…An experiment? An exercise? A mission? Just a BLOG? I’m still not certain.
Now it’s time for some internal evaluation. What worked? What didn’t? What can be stripped away and what needs to be added? What can be considered achievements?
These are just some of the questions to be asked during this 2-week period of R & D ->rest and development in honor of summer. Either way, I’ll be pulling back slightly from publishing and focusing more on learning. I have a pile of books, reports and articles waiting to be read. I also want to spend time drawing more Friday scribbles not to mention cleaning up some of the behind the scenes of the website-yikes.
Call it a working vacation
This doesn’t mean that MyWHaT is going offline or that there won’t be any new posts. The plan for the next two weeks is to keep it simple with a recycling of older posts (any requests?), quickly created & digested posts (imagery), and one or two possible guest contributor posts. Rumor has it Chester is set to return, Chester?
During this time, I’ll be seeking advice from my ad hoc advisory board, current and potential underwriters, key readers and anyone else with something to say. After the end of this 2 week period, I trust I’ll have a little clarity on the direction of the project work and the roll that this BLOG serves.
In the meantime, most of you won’t notice anything different except that the posts will be shorter and a tad less habitual. What readers can do for me is this?
- Comment here, or send a message to me directly, with feedback on the first 6 months of MyWHaT. What content is the most compelling? What could you have less/more of? Any and all feedback is appreciated.
- Do you have some images of yourself and your bike? MyWHaT is looking for your submissions to feature here during this time. send me a message. (I suppose walking shoes, long boards and goat carts work too).
- Continue to visit and share the site with other readers. The one thing I’ve noticed since starting is that there is no shortage of people looking for ways to get out of the car and change the face of the community.
Talk to you soon.
The spring rains finally began this week and the crocus, daffodils and tulips are emerging (the wild leeks in my yard are coming up too).
At the same time, MyWHaT’s 10,000th visit quietly occurred sometime early Monday morning.
Exciting! Considering that the editor was called out as an over-wired menace the week of the launch, this experiment could have went many ways.
So far, it has been nothing but positive. It’s been invigorating work rewarded by a quick climb to around 150 readers per day. Almost every week someone new appears to offer verbal support and excitement; it’s energizing getting to know many of you. Traverse City really does have many creative minds who want to be involved. One goal for MyWHaT is to help those people stand up and be counted.
The big ask
To accomplish this, I need your help. It’s time for me to step it up and ask for financial support to keep this train running at full speed. Next week, I’ll be directly contacting those of you who have already expressed a desire to underwrite MyWHaT.
I’m asking readers to also help me source some additional support. Perhaps it’s you, perhaps it’s someone you know. Either way, send me an email with your idea, as well as a contact person & information if appropriate.
The idea of having underwriters is to seek support from businesses, organizations and individuals who want to be a partner for the advocating for wise use of public space through intentional design.
Not ready to underwrite? Or, would prefer to remain anonymous? You can donate via paypal (I’ll send you some stickers) or send me an email to make other arrangements. In-kind underwriting is also appreciated, so if you have a service that is suitable for trade, let me know.
Some big thank-yous to:
- Everyone who has chimed in or introduced MyWHaT to a friend this past 3 months.
- Trail blazing underwriters: Higher Grounds Beans by Bike delivery, TART Trails, Mike Erway-Graphic Designer.
- The guest contributors Lee Maynard, Bill Palladino, and ‘Chester’. Sharing this space is part of the goal, the Our Wheels are Turning part of it all. If something has your wheels turning, and you want to guest contribute, let me know.
Enjoy the spring rain!
If you see something you like, please subscribe to this BLOG’s feed and also pass this link on to a friend.
(NOTE: Part of the goal with MyWHaT is to 1) have lots of comments (thank you) and, 2) occasionally have guest writers. Today, in a little break from recent hoopla, I introduce to you, Chester. Chester is the cantankerous but intelligent hippie alter ego of a local who wears a suit to work, looks as straight edged as possible, and has to work with many of the people he’d like to “roast”. MyWHaT is happy to give a venue)
Hagerty Insurance: It’s about the cars, stupid
The Hagerty swagger was in full force late last month at the Traverse City Chamber dinner at the Grand Traverse Resort. McKeel Hagerty, the company’s President was touted as the key-note speaker, with the promise of teaching small businesses owners how to go forward with the challenges of the new economy.
His solution was a long drawn out presentation that resembled more of a self-promoting pep rally than a well intentioned key-note speech. Hagerty twice mentioned what he thought was our country’s zenith, the glory days of post WW II, when the car was king, and interstate highways created alleged suburban bliss (along with the metropolitan sprawl attitude we still find ourselves dealing with, even here in Traverse City).
Maybe it was most disappointing that the Hagerty company visibly does little to support alternative transportation (sorry, parking garages for your own employees don’t count) and is beholden to maintain the car guy culture that still lusts over 1960’s muscle cars like a gangly adolescent.
A scary thought for a company that to its credit employs 400 people and plans to hire several hundred more in the next decade.
The multi-media presentation featured Hagerty’s maligned version of history, which of course emphasized America’s love affair with the automobile. If you love cars, think that you are James Bond, or just wanted to wax poetic over the golden age of the internal combustion engine, then this big show was for you.
The night’s message offered little advice for those of us struggling with our own businesses for moving into the future, and even less for those that would like more alternatives for commuting and saving on fuel and transportation costs.
Hagerty probably doesn’t get that part, because in many ways the Hagerty swagger and all, is still living in the past.
Or, maybe Chester, the Hagerty president is trying to compete with the man-himself, Bono. Just last month he called for a Return of the Automobile as a Sexual Object. For a related critique of that superstars love affair with the car, you might enjoy Jeremy Holmes’ Enough With the Fetishization, it’s Just a Car article at Ride Solutions.
If you see something you like, please subscribe to this BLOG’s feed and also pass this link on to a friend.