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Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby Huckleby » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:00 pm

ArturoBandini wrote: No parking should be "free", ever. All parking arrangements should be handled either as private property or as rental/lease agreements on a short-term basis.


Should we privatize the streets too?

I don't want to live in an environment like you propose. We already have too big of a gulf between the haves and have-nots.
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby snoqueen » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:15 pm

As long as people can drive on public streets with nothing more than a driver's license and a registration on their car, they should generally be able to park with the same freedom. Freedom does not mean "free" any more than the use of other amenities supported by taxes is free. We do not charge people to use a park or beach, but they can do so freely.

--Exceptions: high-traffic commercial areas where it's to the advantage of the property owners/businesses (and patrons) to maintain a regular turnover of people parking to visit the businesses. That's where you want metered parking.

--Residential areas: anyone can park freely. (Madison's 48-hour towaway rule is reasonable.) People living in the residences, along with their guests, are advantaged by being able to park in front of their houses. The infrastructure for this is, in many places, already present and to remove it or dream up an elaborate way to profit from it benefits the few not the many.

--New residential development: some amount of off-street parking per residence or occupant should be (and is, in Madison) mandated. If it stands empty over time it should be converted to another use, and for that reason should be designed at the outset to facilitate conversion.

--New commercial development usually has to meet a requirement for a certain number of parking spots, and those often end up underground in urban areas. So far, this is working reasonably well. Again, if those spaces stand unused, they should be put to another purpose and should be designed so this is feasible. Acres of giant parking lot (East Towne) are passe and not feasible given today's land prices and other variables, and they will be phased out naturally over time. We should require the pavement to be removed from those spaces and low-maintenance plantings to be established (to help the watershed, if nothing else) when the properties are no longer in use.


What about incentives to phase out car use, either in a congested downtown or everywhere?

--Inconvenience is the major incentive. It's already there, we don't have to create it or legislate it. Crowding, long slow commutes, wrecks -- you name it, we've already got it. Add weather and climate, at least in Wisconsin. Some people can bike all winter, most are unable or unwilling to. I quit last year in November, for instance, and started up again sometime in maybe March.

--Expense is the next major incentive: gas prices, private parking costs, tickets, car maintenance, and more. If a car is more of an expense than an amenity, people will gladly phase out or give up their personal cars. They already are doing so.

--Convenience is third, more positive incentive, and it's not simply the obverse of inconvenience. Better public transit, along with places to leave one's car on the outskirts for free, will bring greater convenience. People who work late shifts will be among the last to get consideration on this count.

Some people, including the elderly, disabled, those with babies, and the like, will need cars longer than other people. Their needs should be accommodated, even if those needs are not disappearing over time.

The idea you can create an auto-free utopia by piling on new expenses is profoundly anti-progressive, same as the flat tax is.

Some colleges and universities around the country have been afflicted by this libertarian nonsense and sold off their parking areas and buildings to private companies to be run at a profit. The results have been less than satisfactory, and did little or nothing to promote a car-free or public-transit-focused campus or city.

I advocate a balanced approach to gradually help people adjust and prefer that type of living, not simply dreaming up more ways to suck more people's money into corporate pockets without any appreciable improvement in public well-being. Purpose is important. The purpose needs to be greater well-being, not more ways for those with capital to profit.


OK, there's two different approaches to the world of cars and parking: Artie's, and mine. Let the readership have at it.
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby Detritus » Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:28 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:No parking should be "free", ever. All parking arrangements should be handled either as private property or as rental/lease agreements on a short-term basis.

Great! You owe me $175 plus interest (compounded daily, cuz I'm a nice guy) for parking such a stupid post in front of my eyes. Cash, check, or money orders only.
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby WestSideYuppie » Sat Sep 21, 2013 11:04 pm

No reasons are needed for rejecting an outrageous proposal that upsets a satisfactory status quo. But still...

At present, nobody "owns" the parking spaces in front of the houses in my neighborhood, but the use of those spaces appears to be governed by basic civility and pragmatism. Rules that amount to "don't be a jerk" seem to be reasonably well understood. If somebody abuses the space, it tends to be temporary.

Problems can be handled as they arise. If a stretch of street gets too congested with parked cars, they can add reasonable controls. This happened in front of the house where I grew up, because the high school kids started parking on side streets to avoid getting a sticker for the school lot. We had "two hour parking except with permit."

But there would be no way to expect the use of commercial parking spaces to be governed by basic civility and pragmatism -- especially if a few operators gain monopoly control and the political clout that goes with it. The owners of those spaces would naturally assert an entitlement to do business as they choose. Imagine the tangle of regulations that would ensue. The entire business of the city council would be consumed by parking controversies.

In my view, there are some older neighborhoods that were built for single family houses, with small lots one-car driveways, but are now high density rentals. It might make sense to "assign" spots in front of houses to the residents of those houses, or perhaps to create a "two hour parking except by permit" arrangement.
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby Huckleby » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:04 am

WestSideYuppie wrote: It might make sense to "assign" spots in front of houses to the residents of those houses, or perhaps to create a "two hour parking except by permit" arrangement.


I can't accept the assign idea. Two-hour-except-by-permit seems like a very fair compromise that is currently working just fine.
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby ArturoBandini » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:11 am

wack wack wrote:Are you trying to completely destroy commerce?
No, I am trying to bring parking into the world of commerce.
wack wack wrote:I don't know about others, but I simply do not go where I cannot park. I do not spend money where I cannot go. I won't pay to park when I can park for free somewhere else. If I can't park I effectively drop out of the local economy.
This is a very narrow-minded viewpoint. First off, the idea that you cannot spend money where you do not go is absurd. Do you order goods and services online, using a credit card? Second, insisting that you will not engage in commerce where you cannot park is an attitude that will hamper a transition to a society with sustainable transit/transportation infrastructure.
Huckleby wrote:Should we privatize the streets too?
Yes, but that is not necessary in order to reform parking "rights".
Huckleby wrote:I don't want to live in an environment like you propose. We already have too big of a gulf between the haves and have-nots.
You are advocating that we preserve an inefficient system that costs everyone, rich and poor. "Free parking" is a net drag on our economy (in terms of dollars), our society (in terms of hours spent dealing with pointless parking issues), and our planet (bad land use!).
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby wack wack » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:41 am

ArturoBandini wrote:
wack wack wrote:I don't know about others, but I simply do not go where I cannot park. I do not spend money where I cannot go. I won't pay to park when I can park for free somewhere else. If I can't park I effectively drop out of the local economy.
This is a very narrow-minded viewpoint. First off, the idea that you cannot spend money where you do not go is absurd. Do you order goods and services online, using a credit card? Second, insisting that you will not engage in commerce where you cannot park is an attitude that will hamper a transition to a society with sustainable transit/transportation infrastructure.


This isn't a viewpoint, it's a behavior. This isn't theory, it's my life. My comments were specifically regarding local economy; of course I shop online, especially when I can't shop locally. I prefer to shop near home, but not to great inconvenience. Anything limiting my access by vehicle is a great inconvenience.

There are a few areas where I seem to hold decidedly non-liberal views; cars and driving is one of them.
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby ArturoBandini » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:43 am

Sno - I didn't know that we were going to go into such fine detail. I would have typed a few pages myself if I knew you were going to get into the nitty-gritty. Surely you'll understand that my stub of a post should not be misconstrued as a complete policy platform.
snoqueen wrote:As long as people can drive on public streets with nothing more than a driver's license and a registration on their car, they should generally be able to park with the same freedom. Freedom does not mean "free" any more than the use of other amenities supported by taxes is free. We do not charge people to use a park or beach, but they can do so freely.
Property rights are instituted to allocate the exclusive use of scarce goods. The more scarce a good, the more important it is to apply property rights to allocate that good on an exclusive basis. This principle is broadly applicable and really is that simple. If beaches and parks became so in-demand that exclusion were necessary (i.e. the entire surface of the beach were covered with beach blankets, with no additional room), then property rights could be implemented to deal with this situation. As it stands, these situations rarely arise because thankfully we have enough beaches and park space. Unlike beaches and parks, we do not have enough parking spaces in high-demand areas.
snoqueen wrote:--New residential development: some amount of off-street parking per residence or occupant should be (and is, in Madison) mandated. If it stands empty over time it should be converted to another use, and for that reason should be designed at the outset to facilitate conversion.
I pulled this point out because it is exceptionally nearsighted. One does not easily re-convert parking spaces for another use without inducing high costs. It might be easy to imagine converting one off-street spot into a cozy little patio garden, but this type of thinking does not scale. Imagine a 300-unit high-density apartment development that was built with a required 2 parking deck spots per unit. A 600-car parking deck imposes a huge upfront cost to the developer and residents, and would not be trivially easy to later convert to some other purpose - purpose-built parking decks don't lend themselves easily to other uses (and surely you would argue that the conversion itself be regulated by all sorts of zoning, planning, building code, and community input - all adding layers of cost). Another option is for the developer to provide 600 surface spots - terrible land use, and practically impossible in the dense urban environments you surely wish to create.
snoqueen wrote:The idea you can create an auto-free utopia by piling on new expenses is profoundly anti-progressive, same as the flat tax is.
I am happy to be called anti-progressive. In this case though (parking), you are really arguing for the preservation of old, arbitarily-issued rules that have created all of the perversions of modern parking issues.
snoqueen wrote:Some colleges and universities around the country have been afflicted by this libertarian nonsense and sold off their parking areas and buildings to private companies to be run at a profit. The results have been less than satisfactory, and did little or nothing to promote a car-free or public-transit-focused campus or city.
Examples?
snoqueen wrote:I advocate a balanced approach to gradually help people adjust and prefer that type of living, not simply dreaming up more ways to suck more people's money into corporate pockets without any appreciable improvement in public well-being. Purpose is important. The purpose needs to be greater well-being, not more ways for those with capital to profit.
I would consider this to be a nice distillation of the progressive mindset (let me know if you agree). To me, the idea that "purpose is important" is absurd. Outcomes are much more important than purpose. And you've merely asserted that there wouldn't be any appreciable improvement in public well-being under a property rights system for parking - I think you are wrong, and the most modern thinking on this issue agrees with me. Here is a pundit who most people think of as "progressive" advocating property rights in parking. You are on the wrong side of history on this issue.
Last edited by ArturoBandini on Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby ArturoBandini » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:45 am

wack wack wrote:There are a few areas where I seem to hold decidedly non-liberal views; cars and driving is one of them.
That is fine, I'm happy to leave you unconvinced and unchanged in your behaviors.
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby Huckleby » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:59 am

ArturoBandini wrote: You are advocating that we preserve an inefficient system that costs everyone, rich and poor. "Free parking" is a net drag on our economy (in terms of dollars), our society (in terms of hours spent dealing with pointless parking issues), and our planet (bad land use!).


You are wildly exaggerating the costs of off-street parking in order to justify your ideologically-driven position. Privatizing parking is an extreme solution to a modest problem that can be handled more generously.

Two-hour-parking in residential areas works quite well. Local residents can get permits to give them extra usage. This is a practical compromise. There is no crisis justifying a regressive makeover.

Property owners have no "property rights" to the publicly built and maintained streets.
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby snoqueen » Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:16 am

I could go back and do a long, unreadable reply to Artie but in this case, what Huck (and others) have said covers it.

You've proposed a solution in search of a problem that goes against every measure of common sense I can think of.

However: Unused underground parking would make good warehouse/storage space. Unused surface parking could and should be rehabilitated into green space, improving our groundwater health and the urban environment as a whole. Some is buildable land.

Unused parking ramps are pretty useless, being built to lower structural requirements than most conventionally occupied buildings. I don't like 'em either. I think mostly they're transitional structures just waiting for our transit to catch up.
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby ArturoBandini » Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:24 am

Huckleby wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote: You are advocating that we preserve an inefficient system that costs everyone, rich and poor. "Free parking" is a net drag on our economy (in terms of dollars), our society (in terms of hours spent dealing with pointless parking issues), and our planet (bad land use!).


You are wildly exaggerating the costs of off-street parking in order to justify your ideologically-driven position. Privatizing parking is an extreme solution to a modest problem that can be handled more generously.

Two-hour-parking in residential areas works quite well. Local residents can get permits to give them extra usage. This is a practical compromise. There is no crisis justifying a regressive makeover.

Property owners have no "property rights" to the publicly built and maintained streets.

Property rights become more and more important as density increases. I'm thinking toward the future, not the present or past. For suburban areas where parking is only mildly contested, you might be able to get by with arbitrary, non-market regulations, because the costs of externalities would be low enough to sweep under the rug. As density and demand increase, these externalities will swell in proportion and no longer be negligible and will represent real costs. Just keep that in mind as you mentally test your parking models. What might not make sense for Owen Dr. might be a workable solution for Langdon St, and would be an absolute game-changer in downtown Chicago.

Applying property rights to suburban areas would still work well enough, but the market price of that parking would be very low, maybe only pennies per hour. This is because of a huge oversupply of on-street parking spots, created by regulatory planning and zoning measures (not markets). In that case, the administrative costs to actually collect the fees might be uneconomical, and the parking system would, de facto, revert to the uncontrolled system we have now.

I realize that existing street parking spots are owned by municipalities and states. I proposed in my initial post that these spots be sold at auction with first option going to the adjacent property owner.

You called my proposal a "regressive makeover". In what way is my proposal regressive?
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby ArturoBandini » Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:32 am

snoqueen wrote:You've proposed a solution in search of a problem that goes against every measure of common sense I can think of.
Maybe in Madison, but in more populous cities, the problem is very real. Even in Madison, in downtown areas parking is a significant factor in all sorts of decisions and behaviors.
snoqueen wrote:However: Unused underground parking would make good warehouse/storage space. Unused surface parking could and should be rehabilitated into green space, improving our groundwater health and the urban environment as a whole. Some is buildable land.
All this is fine, but it still represents a deadweight loss when imposed by regulatory requirements ("X spaces per Y units"). Converting an underground lot to storage space is a good option, but even better would be to never build the lot in the first place if demand were insufficient to warrant its existence.
snoqueen wrote:Unused parking ramps are pretty useless, being built to lower structural requirements than most conventionally occupied buildings. I don't like 'em either. I think mostly they're transitional structures just waiting for our transit to catch up.
Your preferred parking paradigm makes it harder for transit to ever catch up, while mine makes transit more attractive and more economically feasible by internalizing the true costs of parking and vehicle use. If you disagree, please support your arguments with more than assertions and appeals to poorly defined things like "generosity" or tradition.
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby Huckleby » Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:32 am

ArturoBandini wrote: I realize that existing street parking spots are owned by municipalities and states. I proposed in my initial post that these spots be sold at auction with first option going to the adjacent property owner.

You called my proposal a "regressive makeover". In what way is my proposal regressive?


Perhaps I have been too sweeping in my condemnation.

Maybe there is room for further compromise. I disagree with you, I would not privatize all parking. But giving property owners an option to purchase parking rights might be workable.
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Re: Coneheads: "No parking in front of MY house"

Postby ArturoBandini » Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:38 am

Huckleby wrote:Perhaps I have been too sweeping in my condemnation.

Maybe there is room for further compromise. I disagree with you, I would not privatize all parking. But giving property owners an option to purchase parking rights might be workable.
Great, this would be a fine experiment.
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