Austin : Rethinking what’s important, More Meter Madness

First up, a rather sad story about a father who accidentally left his one year old in a car. The baby died, the grand jury (thankfully) no billed which I think is appropriate given that it was an accident, not willful negligence and endangerment. It’s a very sad story that’s turning into a cautionary tale. What caught my eye was this graf…

Authorities suggest caregivers put an important item, such as a cellphone, purse or laptop, in the back seat with a child so they would be reminded of the infant’s presence while retrieving the item.

So, when putting your child in the car, make sure you put a really important item close to them like an inanimate object.

Next, there’s a new resolution on the meter issue and it’s great except for a few things…

1) It puts charges in place for Thursday through Sunday after hours
2) It creates a parking deadzone in a block bounded by Lake Lady Bird, Lamar to the west, 10th to the north and the 35 to the east. This area is also known as ‘downtown’ or ‘WHERE ALL THE FUN STUFF IS’.
3) It’s unnecessary.

So, yeah, the compromise isn’t going to work. I appreciate the efforts of Martinez, but those efforts were predicated on the need for a compromise. There was no need for a compromise. Business owners, patrons and citizens don’t want this. Who does? Apparently, Skeletor

But after Council Member Chris Riley gave the council a brief history of parking meters — he said they were invented in Oklahoma City in the mid-1930s because downtown workers there were using up all the available on-street spaces — Riley, Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Council Members Bill Spelman and Sheryl Cole stuck with the 10th Street boundary.

“It is very different than just collecting revenue,” Riley said. “It is about managing a scarce resource.”

So. Many. Things. Wrong. Where. To. Begin.

1) Riley is right about the history. It contributed to the spread of OKC out of the urban core. Employers tired of dealing with complaints and of having to arrange alternate parking solutions for employees simply relocated out of downtown. Customers of downtown retail may not have liked hunting for a space, but they liked renting one much less and took their business elsewhere.

2) There is a built in resource management system, Chris. A natural one that doesn’t require additional spending by the city on expensive equipment. It’s called first come, first served. Also, there is a free market solution available to those who are financially able, it’s called VALET and PAY LOT/GARAGE or, alternatively they can do what I do and not jack around with parking and take cabs.
CHARGING for the very few remaining free spaces downtown isn’t managing the market, it’s squeezing the poor for comparatively little revenue while there are plenty of options for those willing and able to spend money. Riley, once again, offers a solution in search of problem which he does frequently because like all policy nerds, he never considers THE REAL WORLD EFFECTS.

3) The ‘crisis’ in available spaces downtown is due to one obvious feature of downtown development…the developers were not required by the City to build and maintain adequate parking as part of their projects. THAT has to change.

4) You know what happens when you combine alcohol with high levels of foot and vehicle traffic and throw in elevated parking turnover? You get ACCIDENTS, both vehicle on vehicle and vehicle on pedestrian. A sawbuck says this ends up costing the city and country more in additional medical and law enforcement resources over three months than the revenue for the first year.

This was finally approved 6-1 with, again, Morrison being the lone dissent which is extremely disappointing to those of us who supported Kathy Tovo and are wondering why she’s decided to do an imitation of Randi Shade. As for the rest of you (yeah, you too Spelman), WHAT will it take to break Skeletor’s control over you? How much noise do we have to make before the Svengali-like hold is broken and you can think independently again?

Not long after I publish this, there will be a rash of calls to me from concerned staffers. Don’t bother. I’m hellishly busy today and really don’t have time. Send me an email if Riley hasn’t removed your keyboards and replaced them with something far more expensive that tracks eye movements instead and uses .1 of an amp less than a keyboard but costs 1000 times as much. I’ll get back to you next week or you can feel free to leave a comment. I won’t delete it.

Riley, seriously bubba, you are the goddamn poster child for false economy and this idea is precisely why I hate neoliberals. You sound nice but you end up jacking everything up because the real world doesn’t work quite like the idea did on paper. You’re worse than Randian Libertarians… at least they don’t pretend to care about outcomes.

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2 Responses to Austin : Rethinking what’s important, More Meter Madness

  1. Why don’t they really innovate and reverse the angle of all downtown parking spaces, then reserve them all for restaurant valet parking? Frankly, I’m disappointed in this half-measure.

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