Parking compassionately

This is from my local parent list serve

Hi everyone, this may not apply to you if you don’t park on the street. BUT, if you do, please read on.

As you are all aware, parking is VERY difficult in our neighborhood. I think we can make some small changes that may help. These changes will not cure the problem because many people who park here don’t live here or don’t have children so they are not on this list. So though the “cure” may not happen, this could help…..

1. PLEASE don’t be afraid to pull up or back to the nearest car. 2ft is enough space for people to get in and out. If you leave 4 or 5 ft that is half a spot and imagine all of the 1/2 spots that are out there, added together we could be putting our cars in!
2. Pull ALL the way up to the end of the curb/pedestrian walk/marked parking/etc… Again, left space is wasted space. As a NYer, you know this!
3. If you find a spot that’s HUGE pull either up or back all the way since you could leave enough space for a scooter or motorcycle to fit in.
4. When alternate side parking is happening, please leave your phone number on the dash so that crazy people who need to leave and forgot to get out there in time can leave without having to wait. I leave my number and have been called about 3 or 4 times.

These are simple considerations. If everyone on this list who drives follows this, we will have created many more spaces. Encourage your fellow parkers not on this list to do the same. Ask nicely, explain why it’s nice to not leave space and that way when it’s your turn at 6:00pm to look for a spot, you just may find one!

Thank you!
A compassionate parker


On the other hand, the LESS compassionately you park, the more likely your neighbor will sell her car in frustration. If there was only one parking spot per block, a lot fewer people would have cars, and fewer children and elderly would suffer respiratory illnesses or be killed or maimed by inattentive motor vehicle operators. That sounds like something we could all hope for as a holiday present.




It’s true, that less cars is [sic] a better solution.  BUT I have a home in CT that I travel to.  I ski, kayak, snowboard, bike and hike all outside the City.  SO I use my car, which I paid more for so that I would get better fuel economy.  I would LOVE to have an electric car but where will I plug it in? Anyway, my post was about being considerate to others when you do have to park. Thank you so much for your thoughts too.:)




Perhaps your enjoyment of arcane and inconvenient hobbies justifies your motor vehicle ownership. Suggest taking up handball instead. That way, you can show true compassion to the majority of your neighbors by not putting their lives at risk as you circle the block looking for a parking space for your kayak. There are handball courts in Hood Wright Park.


I didn’t actually send this last one, but I sure enjoyed writing it.

Six point plan, no metrics involved

I read this Bike Portland post this afternoon and got a little befuddled.

The six points are:
1. We need to make it easier to choose to bike or walk
2. We need to not be afraid to take a few risks
3. We need to not be afraid of what creating congestion might do
4. We need to find a way to create “temporary” projects that show us what can be done
5. In the area within two blocks of a school, there should not be parking or loading zones
6. We need to do a much better job of mitigating construction

Thanks, Kari Schlosshauer.

With my military experience, I tend to examine manifestos and such from a how-would-you-do-this perspective. If you were King of Portland, Kari, how would you enact this plan? How would you judge whether or not you were making progress? What would you tell people who came to you asking how they could help?

The issue with all bicycling promotion is that it’s ridiculously easy to implement. Take away free on-street overnight parking. I’ve learned that my two cousins who live in Brooklyn with small children both have automobiles. Both grew up going to Quaker school and are clearly on the enlightened side of the spectrum, but because they own cars they are now bought into the motor vehicle economy. Me, I have two small children and our family saves a literal krap-ton of money each month by not having a motor vehicle. And we have more family time, because not having the means to make unnecessary trips to furniture retailer Ykea means not making unnecessary trips to Ykea.

Luckily for me, my neighborhood makes it easier for me to not have a car because only the folks with no job can find the time twice a week to move their cars from one side of the street to the other.

So when I read Ms. Schlosshauer’s six points, it seems to me that she is trying to have it both ways; persuading motor vehicle owners that they can live in a bicycling paradise and that it won’t really change anything in their lives. The easiest way to do this is to claim that your platform is “for the children,” because it puts opponents on the defensive; who is against children?

The problem is that winning arguments and persuading people to give up their cars are two different things.