Look Outside, Silicon Valley, Social Media


Look Outside, Silicon Valley, Social Media

Longtime readers know that I love to take the temperature of one issue or another by simply looking around. Weather – look outside. Automated vehicles and electric cars – check out the neighborhood. Is the Metro popular – count the number of people on the train as it whizzes by. Who will be elected – ask the guy who is fixing my plumbing or works in the next cubicle. Never rely on the media or ‘experts.’ I find I have a track record as good as some, and better than most.

In this case, let’s discuss first mile, last mile micro transportation, scooters and bikes. There was a time when you couldn’t drive down Venice Boulevard in West Los Angeles without seeing numerous people, mostly young, scooting along the street on electric scooters. They were everywhere, sometimes even in my front yard.

I noticed the other day that I hadn’t seen a Bird or Lyme scooter for a few weeks. I checked this out with a couple of neighbors and we simply couldn’t remember when we saw someone riding one of them. Are they on the way out?

We do see more and more bicycle rentals. Is that because they are perhaps safer and easier to handle than the scooters? Or were the scooters a fad and will they just fade away, to be followed by the rental bikes?

You read it here first.


Silicon Valley

I got a note yesterday from a buddy at UCLA, no not THAT buddy, I have more than one. 

He was musing on the fact that so much parking in Silicon Valley is surface parking. Considering the extremely valuable land up there, he wondered why many major firms opted for lots rather than subterranean or structured parking.

It appears that when Apple built its upwards of $5 billion campus it did install parking structures. Google, however, did not, instead relying on five surface lots for employees and visitors. Apple built its ‘spaceship’ headquarters starting from scratch, while Google consolidated existing structures from the former Silicon Graphics headquarters.

However, when you look at Silicon Valley, it is true that most of the parking is handled with surface lots. All that expensive land is covered with asphalt.

I have considered my friend’s question and come up with some possible reasons.

First, they may be planning for growth and consider the surface lots locations for future expansion.

Second, they have an almost unlimited amount of money. The value of the land may be unimportant.

Third, “Silicon Valley” isn’t a city unto itself, but the description of an area made up of numerous communities like Cupertino, Mountain View, San Jose and the like. Each of these cities have differing parking requirements for development.

Fourth, most of the companies in Silicon Valley began as startups with a small staff and small headquarters building. They then grew and, like Google, added buildings as they were required. Parking structures weren’t foremost in their minds.

Fifth, I have no idea what I’m talking about.

OK, Mike. There’s my list. Whatcha think?


Social Media

It goes like this. Parker pays fee to park. Places receipt on dash. When door closes, receipt flutters to floor. Enforcement comes by, sees no receipt, has car booted. Cost is $75 to have boot removed. Driver shows receipt to everyone involved. No recourse. Of course, it’s blasted all over the front page of The Gainesville Sun in Florida.

This was on private property, but that only makes it worse, as far as I’m concerned. The owner/operator of the parking facility simply said, rules are rules. You lose. The city said, it’s on private property, we can’t do anything about it.

“All of the rules that are set on that lot are between the owner of the lot and the vendor. We did try to convince the tow company to refund the money, but we have no authority to mandate that they do that,” said GPD (Gainesville PD) Chief Inspector Jorge Campos. “The property owner could mandate that, but that is between the property owner and the car owner.”

Towing draws a lot of complaints in Gainesville, and officials say it’s incumbent on drivers to make sure they know and follow the rules of the place at which they are parking. That is no help to (Driver who received citation) Bellucci.

“So much for the ‘Great City’ that our commissioners want us to be. Can’t we find a better way (or a better contractor,) to manage our parking compliance?” Bellucci said. “It didn’t take any additional effort or time for the Superior Towing employee to verify that my receipt was valid…Aren’t we better than this?”

Oh, please. You mean to say the city (Inspector Campos) couldn’t have a quiet word with the owner of the parking lot. Show him the error of his ways. That parking facility exists at the pleasure of the city. Does if follow all the rules exactly right? I doubt it.

But this action is easy. Don’t do anything and let parking continue to take it in the neck.

The social media headline read: It cost me $920 to have the Barnacle removed from my car, signed babayaga. OMG. How unfair – the poor little girl had to pay nearly $1,000 to get her car released by the evil parking operation. 

“$920 to get this removed,” the student tweeted with a sad face emoji. “All bc the university doesn’t have enough permits available nor parking options that are affordable for students that already pay to attend the University.’

That’s the problem with so called “social media.” You can say anything you want with no requirement for research or backup. Of course, news media is moving down a similar path.

You have to read the article in the Houston Chronicle completely and do some quick math to understand that, in fact, it cost $50 to have it removed. The rest was the requirement of paying numerous parking tickets she had ignored. The Parking Department responds:

“It is our responsibility to make sure that there is available parking for those who have paid to have a valid permit,” UH’s parking department tweeted in reply to babayaga. “We offer a wide range of permits from garage to remote campus and we have had permits available throughout the fall and spring semester at all times.”

UH’s barnacle devices, implemented in early December 2019 as a way to deter parking violators and simplify fining processes, are only used for cars consistently parked on campus without a permit and with five or more existing citations, according to the spokesmen. To date, 37 cars have been barnacled, with the violators receiving an average of nine citations for parking without a permit.

I just love these snowflakes. They want everything for nothing. They take no responsibility for their actions. What the hell is this world coming to?

Take a chill pill, JVH.

There is an urban legend that graffiti was found on the walls of a city in ancient Rome that said to the effect: “What is wrong with these young people. The world is coming to an end. It will not survive their generation.”

It is difficult to reach a happy medium. I think the University of Houston has done so. They are allowing students to ignore a number of citations, and then charge them only $50 for the collection effort. They didn’t learn responsibility from their parents, so it is up to the university to do something. Just wait until they ignore nine tickets written off campus. Ha.

By the way – this youngster asked folks on social media to help pay her parking fines and received at last count over $200. Could that have been the goal all along?

See you in San Diego at PIE 2020.

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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