Monday, July 13, 2009

Thoughts on Parking

I few years back I was with my friend Nora and we were going to go visit a common friend in one of those condos on Clarendon Blvd in Arlington. If you know the area, there isnít a boatload of open parking there. You gotta hunt for it. It was pretty much, understood that when you bought or rented one of these condos you ďmightĒ get one parking space for your car, and any guests youíd have would have to compete with the other residentsí visitors for the 4 visitor parking spots in the garage (if you can get into the garage). Or your guests will have to hunt for a spot on the street with the hopes of finding something 3 blocks away. When I was living in an apartment complex in Rosslyn each apartment could get a permit for the lot, but the permit wasnít a guarantee of a space. Working in Old Town Alexandria, the place where I worked subsidized transportation, I got a check for my metro use and some co-workers got a check for parking in the garage across the street. The checks didnít always the full cost or transit.
Closer in the District in some Ďinformationí sessions Iíve attended about new condos or developments the understanding was that new residents would use the metro or other public transit and a small number of residents would have cars. Well thatís the line to get current residents to agree to the development and grant the variance. Noticeably, condos, apartments and other things getting built around here in the last decade donít seem to make having a parking spot for every resident a goal.
So thatís where Iím coming from. A world where a parking space is a luxury and sometimes a job benefit. Where getting rid of your car or cutting down on the number of vehicles a household owns is encouraged. However, that world is coming in serious conflict with another world where those values donít count. We've seen the conflicts come out in the double parking problems in the Logan Circle area (which moved over to the TC and morphed into something else) and now recently with the dog park. Our employeers tell us to use Metro and our own blocks encourage us to weigh the burdens of car ownership. I would ask all my fellow Shaw citizens to weigh the burdens and even out the weight.

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1 Comments:

At 7/14/2009 12:32 AM, Blogger Nora said...

Where this whole thing always caused problems for me- semi-suburban me in Alexandria- was that it makes it very difficult for others.

The idea of one car families is a great one, as is the expanded use of public transit. But not everyone is able to live near the train line.

And the system in DC is unreliable on weekends and nights- exactly the times I would have wanted to socialize. Add to that the 50 minute plus bus/train/train trip from Alexandria to Arlington vs. the 15 minute car trip...

Those condo's were all well and good, but were horrid for guests- there wasn't even any paid parking nearby.

And the fatal flaw of all this, during the price hikes: Anyone who has $700,000 to buy a condo? Is probably going to own at least one car, even if they prefer not to use it. You are never going to get that sort of walkable success until the transit network actually gets from a lot more point a's to point b's.

 

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