Nimby or NIFOMH


Nimby or NIFOMH

Not in Front Of My House…No parking there, except for me and the folks I want to park there and for heavens sake they can park for free. But should anyone else want to park there, Off with their heads…

I was talking to a friend who lives in a nice part of the city of Torrance. Its a block from a local high school and around the corner from a hospital.  Schools and Hospitals close, that drives up values. But of course, it also means that there are parking issues. She constantly rails on the students and doctors parking in front of her house, cluttering up the neighborhood with their cars.

"We need restrictions on this parking," she says.  I asked her why not institute a program of permit parking on her street and allow anyone who wants to buy a permit to park there. She was aghast. "Tttthat’s like inviting them in to park. No, never, nada, zero, zip, …It will happen over my dead body."

Well, I added. What if the money collected from the permits and fines could be used right here on your block. Your streets need repaving and the trees have reeked havoc with the sidewalks. I notice the park where you take the dog to run is pretty lame. Wouldn’t some new grass, trees, and a picnic table or two be in order. Now here is the kicker — what if, because we were generating so much money from the parking, that we were able to lower your property taxes (this is a pipe dream, but an obvious extension).

Suddenly her demeanor changed. She began to think of all the things she would like to see in the neighborhood — more police, perhaps a traffic light where they enter on to Torrance Boulevard, and lower taxes…Now there’s something that caught her eye.

The last part about the taxes won’t happen but maybe this would keep from raising them. But the other things things aren’t. This could work and work well. The people parking there would have registered. They would be the same people every day. Enforcement would be around daily to ensure that there was no cheating — and adding a bit of security since they would be there with eyes and ears…

Its just how it is sold.  The idea that I must have three broken down cars in my driveway and park my new truck, van, and sedan on the street is absurd.  If I have to pay to park on the street, I’ll probably call the wrecker, clean out my driveway, and park my cars where they belong. It just gets better and better.

A blog reader from Florida sent me an email and noted that there were always a couple of naysayers on every board or commission and they usually had all the volume.  She also noted that there were some who "got it" but they knew that politically they had to move slowly.

Selling is selling.  You do your best when you have something that your customer either wants or needs. If you walk around the naysayer’s property and then tell them that if we just had the money, we could replace or steam clean that sidewalk, or put in new benches, or plant trees, or have summer concert programs across the street, if we just had the money.

Of course, if we charge for parking, we solve a bunch of other problems, (availability, cruising, etc) and have the bucks for improvements….

Back to the mantra…

Charge market rates (but with Goldilocks in mind) for on street parking
Put the money back into the neighborhoods from whence it came
Do away with parking requirements for development and redevelopment in the area.

These three rules will revitalize a downtown, clean up a neighborhood, and solve all sorts of issues like cruising, congestion, pollution, and probably original sin and global warming, too.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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