Monday, June 14, 2010

Residential parking - contradictions abound

Yet again, my neighborhood is having a discussion about parking in a newly proposed residential building. People seem to want parking to be included in the rent (or purchase price) of each unit. This is because they think that if parking is not included with the rent, the residents will park on the already crowded streets. Living in a pre-WII neighborhood, close to the UW campus and hospitals, with a high school up the street, and lots of apartments, it is sometimes it can be a challenge to find parking. So people don't want more people parking in the same crowded area.

At the same time, people don't want lots of extra traffic on their streets and in the neighborhood. What they fail to realize is that, if you include parking in the rent, you will only attract residents that have cars. And people with cars tend to drive them. Trust me, I am one of those people, despite trying to drive as little as possible.

If you sell parking separately, the apartments become financially attractive for people that don't won cars, or only own one car for two people. That means less cars, less traffic, and less parking problems for everyone.

The same type of contradiction comes up when the UW is building on campus, or a new office or apartment is proposed. Half the people in my neighborhood argue for less parking on campus, or keeping the number of spots the same, because they don't want more people driving through the neighborhood to get to that parking. The other half ask for more parking on campus, so people won't park in the neighborhood. I swear, sometimes the same people say different things on different days.

My neighborhood only allows two hours of parking during the day unless you have a residential permit. These permits are only available to people that live in the area, and many apartments dwellers are not allowed to get them anyway.

People who complain about the parking in the area are generally homeowners. They chose to buy a house without enough parking for their needs. Whose fault is that? For the record, I did not own a car myself when I bought my house, and now own one car. I also have one off-street parking spot, so my parking demand exactly matches what I own. If you own more cars than you have space to park them off-street, not on ly shouldn't you be complaining, you are part of the problem.