A final word on the “ethics” of saving parking spots you have shoveled.


A final word on the “ethics” of saving parking spots you have shoveled.

Slate magazine gets into it here, and in depth. Tom Vanderbilt quotes some professional ethicists and then agrees that saving a space you have just spent an hour clearing is immoral, or something. To that I say balderdash.

Everyone is supposed to love thy neighbor, save the whales, and sing kumbaya. I rather agree with Robert Ellickson who wrote Order Without Law, How Neighbors Settle Disputes. He comments that neighbors who live in an area for some time have a tendency to solve local problems (Tree on the roof, trash cans left out, barking dogs, and the like) without involving the law. They try to discuss the problem away and failing that, use an even bigger stick, gossip. (We had a barking dog next door. My friend and I knew the problem was that fido was lonely and needed long walks. He didn’t like to be left outside. So we mentioned it to the neighbor then next time we saw him and volunteered to walk the dog daily, and get some of that energy out of him. Of course he didn’t agree, but stepped up the walking, even involving his wife. Sure enough. Barking stopped. No cops, no animal control. Just a few judicious words in the right ear.)

It’s important to remember that most of these “save the space” situations take place in certain neighborhoods where it has been going on for generations. The people there work it out. If someone takes your spot, watch out. Not a good idea. I wonder, really, if most of the people who are commenting on this problem live in neighborhoods where it actually exists. If you live in the burbs and have a garage or in an apartment on the upper west side and don’t own a car or worse, in LA where it doesn’t snow, why are you commenting on this anyway.

Leave the people in certain neighborhoods in Chicago and Boston and Philly alone. They have been saving spaces since cars were new. Why the hell not let them and keep our noses out of it. If it becomes a problem for them, my guess is that they will work out a way to solve it. This problem is not going to mean the end of civilization as we know it.

But what do I know…


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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