All the wrong reasons


All the wrong reasons

The City of Berkeley, CA will most likely do the wrong thing, amd for the wrong reasons. Read the article here. It seems pretty straight forward.  There is plenty of parking, but the business people aren’t willing to pay for the parking.

Of course the somewhere to the left of Lenin writer has to bring up global warming, save the whales, asthma, and killing children. Oh, get over it.  The major problem the governator has with his hydrogen highway initiative in California is that cars are now so clean, its really no longer an issue. So lets get down to the real problem and the only solution

Berkeley needs to get some backbone and put most of its lawbreakers in jail. This city has the highest rate of parking meter vandalism around. The city of free love, birth place of the free speech movement, and the home of the University of California can’t seem to figure out that if you give something away, people are going to come and take it.

The Bzerkley denizens now want to stop a parking structure. And if you can believe it, actually agree that the problem is that the workers and business owners are parking on street, feeding the meters (when they can find a working one) and taking all the space from their customers.

Their solution is, of course, to give away free bus passes to the merchants and those working out at the "Y" and then people will ride the bus, or metro, or whatever, and there will be plenty of parking for the Volkswagen vans, broken down DKWs and thirty year old pollution makers owned by the locals. If they really wanted to make a difference they would trade in all that junk for a car made since 1995 that doesn’t pollute, but I digress.

They are close, but no cigar. The way to solve the problem is to look south to their sister university in Los Angeles, and its urban planning professor, Don Shoup.  The Shoupistas need to attack the Sandunistas at Cal and show them the error of their ways. I’ve always suspected that Don is a closet liberal, he just has come around to understanding the way things work in the real world. 

First — Charge more for parking and get serious about collecting the money. If you charged say $7 for the first hour, and $1 for the second, the employees couldn’t afford to park on street and would take the bus.

Second — take the money from the parking and make downtown Berkeley a better place — new parks, sidewalks, street scapes, clean up alleyways, new storefronts, the rest of it. People would be willing to pay the big bucks for parking because downtown Berekley would be a great place to visit.

Third, stop giving parking or subsidizing parking, and charge what it really costs. Make it pay for itself. and while you are at it, unbundle the cost of parking from the price people pay for items in the stores or the rent the business owners pays. Make the drivers pay their way.

My guess is, however, this won’t happen in the people’s encave in the East bay. They will figure out a way to set up another give away scheme, tax the merchants again for some wingding program, and continue to have parking issues.

Don’t worry Emeryville and El Cerrito, your competition will fall again on its sword and people will flock to your stores and restaurants.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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