Twitter, a Blood Sport, an Agenda


Twitter, a Blood Sport, an Agenda

My comments on my blog about Tony Jordan and Portland created a Twitter storm, well maybe a Twitter drizzle, and I found myself lambasted from as far away as Singapore and as close to home as the PDXshoupistas. My problem isn’t criticism, I have a fairly thick skin. My problem is that I have great difficulty responding in 280 characters.

Note that the above paragraph is almost exactly 280 characters and says virtually nothing. A university in Italy has done a study of Twitter, comparing it to classroom learning, and found the following:

In fact, the cognitive problems with Twitter may very well be its differences, as those who have grown frustrated with the platform well know. Its character limit rewards pithiness over thoughtfulness, and promotes zingers over analysis. Even in the best of environments, Twitter is less a place for reasoned discourse than for gossip and pleasantries. Thanks to Twitter management’s heavy-handed “community standards” policies and the snitch-society incentives they have created, the best of environments has long since departed. 

Get that – “less a place for reasoned discourse than for gossip and pleasantries…”

Nevertheless we here at PT are caught in the Twitter nightmare and will continue to use it to communicate. However, as we did last month, we will attempt to direct folks to a place for “reasoned discourse”, ie Parknews, my blog, or our Facebook and Linkedin pages – places where there is no limit on the number of characters you can use to get your point across.

It’s easy to call someone out, it is more difficult to shore up your position with more than a ‘pithy comment.’

I challenge you to read my ‘stuff’, and then comment with thoughtfulness and analysis.


Blood Sport

I just read an article from the LA Times posted on Parknews titled “Want to Park in Koreatown? Get Ready for a Blood Sport.” Wow! Where to begin? First of all, the quote wasn’t from a talented headline writer, it was from a resident in the area. Second, if you read the article carefully, you find that it isn’t that there is little parking in Koreatown, it’s that there is little “FREE” parking in Koreatown. Yes, there are some garages and lots, but of course you have to pay to park there. And people would rather spend hours a month searching for free on street parking than pay what, $25, $50 or $75 a week, to park in a lot nearby.

But let’s say I’m wrong. There is no paid parking available. Then what? Since the city has elected to subsidize the parking by making on street parking ‘free’, there is little incentive for anyone to provide parking. Why would I risk millions building a parking facility only to be in competition with more convenient parking that the city is providing for free? Makes no sense.

It would seem the solution would be easy. Set up a parking district. Provide on street parking for residents at a reasonable fee. Then invite private industry to fill in the gaps. If it makes financial sense, I’ll bet you will have more parking in Koreatown than you can shake a stick at.

If there was parking nearby, perhaps landlords could cut deals with the operators and provide parking for their tenants and include it in the rent. They would raise the rent a bit, but it might be a service that apartments could provide.

The other complaint was street cleaning. No Parking 8-10 on Wednesday. So, people hover, waiting for 10 AM so they can get a spot. Sometimes they roll the dice and hope enforcement doesn’t show up and park at 9:45, and probably get a ticket. It’s a cat and mouse game played between the PEOs and citizens.

The purpose is to get the cars off the street so the street sweepers can clean the roadway. Why not allow the cars to park after the street sweeper goes by? If you see that the sweeper is finished, go park. Enforcement could precede the sweeper and ticket those that haven’t moved, fair enough. Why cite if there is no reason to do so?

Think about all the time wasted by both PEOs and parkers lurking and waiting for the deadline to pass.


An Agenda

Thinking about the problem in Koreatown I mentioned above, I wonder if there is an agenda here. Our betters at City Hall have decided that automobile ownership is bad. So, they are making using a car in the city as difficult as possible.

Think about it. If there are ways to make parking easier and car ownership more seamless, and you are opposed to car ownership, then why make it easier to own a car. Why not make it more difficult?

Think about the infamous “Great Streets” scheme and bicycle lanes. The bike lanes in LA are virtually unused. The main result of spending millions a mile to create them is to make the streets narrower, adding to congestion, and slowing traffic, thus making driving more difficult in the city. They remove some parking spaces, also making parking more difficult.

In cities like New York and Los Angeles there is already discussion about congestion pricing, making driving more expensive. An Anti-Car agenda. In California we have among the highest gasoline taxes in the nation, adding about 60 cents to every gallon of gas sold. We also have some of the most poorly maintained roads in the country. The gas tax isn’t going to fix the roads. Is this also part of the anti-car agenda?

But who is really being affected by all this? It’s the older neighborhoods, like Koreatown, with older, less expensive apartments with no parking that see this problem. It’s people who live there and need their cars to get to work halfway across town who are hit with the high cost of gas or the congestion caused by bike lanes.

I thought city hall was supposed to represent all the people, not just the ones on the west side of LA or the Upper East Side of New York. It’s the wealthy who call all the shots, and the not so wealthy who, unfortunately, reap the results.

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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