The City of Portland, OR, is considering expanding an existing garage in one of its neighborhoods. It could add as many as 392 spaces to the 400 space facility. You can read all about it at parknews.biz.
Our friend Tony Jordan and his anti-parking group has opposed the expansion. Local residents want the expansion because, they say, construction in the area has removed many parking spaces and the additional spaces in the garage will actually have a net increase of zero. Jordan and Co. aren’t after a net increase of zero, they are after a decrease. After all Climate Change is going to destroy us all and cars cause Climate Change.
What frustrates Jordan, according to the article, is that despite decades of campaigning against the automobile and spending billions on rapid transit, there has been a less than 3% reduction in auto use in the Portland area. Here’s a quote from the Willamette Week:
“You could have a tax on downtown all-day parking garages, and that would effectively be a congestion charge for commuters into the city of Portland,” says parking reform advocate Tony Jordan. “Cars cause climate change, and cars need to park somewhere, and if you charge more and build less, fewer cars will park there.”
Can’t our Mobility Betters learn from history. One size doesn’t fit all. Simply telling people to ride bicycles or take the train and trying to force them out of their cars doesn’t work, never has, never will. If you want to reduce congestion, you need to provide reasonable alternatives.
When Tony visited our offices in Los Angeles a year or so ago, he was staying friends in San Pedro and was proud of the fact that he arrived at our LAX digs four hours after he left his friends home, having taken public transportation. At the time of day he came it was a 30 minute commute by car.
Using the Metro, bus, and foot links may have made him feel warm and cuddly, but it simply isn’t a viable alternative. And the people of Los Angeles, and yes, of Portland, aren’t going to sign up for quadrupling their commute. The success of Uber and Lyft have shown that.
I’m all for Tony and his ilk to keep up the good work and succeed in reducing congestion, and smog for that matter, but they really need to take human nature into account.
Caution, JVH Screed ahead:
By the way, did you know that about 70% of greenhouse gases are water vapor, you know, clouds. Only 30% are potentially caused by man. So even if you believe that we are causing climate change, and that change will do something horrendous to the planet, twisting ourselves into pretzels to reduce what greenhouse gases we can isn’t enough to make much of a difference, particularly since the US has reduced its greenhouse gas emission more than virtually any other country on the planet while China and India are leading the way to increase their participation in the greenhouse gas race.