"Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."
- Mark Twain
I check the comments on this blog regularly. The idea is that we're going to have a conversation about the ideas I've presented. You should be aware of the fact that when someone emails me an interesting comment, the odds are good that I'll post that in the comments anonymously and reply to that comment on the blog rather than in email.
Sep 6, 2009
Who We're Up Against
In response to my Commuting, Again rant against the mediocrity of parking lot technology, Andy Goldfine sent me a copy of the National Parking Association's "newsletter." If this were a less screwed up world, their take on their weird little propaganda rag would be nothing short of hilarious: "PARKING Magazine is the oldest and most respected magazine in the parking industry. With its long-established standard for editorial excellence, PARKING is a dynamic publication that has continually grown over the last 50 years to meet the industry’s constantly changing needs."
The most recent Parking Magazine issue was filled with important, nation-changing articles like:
1) This year's trade promotion to benefit the Parking Industry Institute will feature the following prizes: 1st - $15,000 cash 2nd - $5,000 cash 3rd - Free full registration to the 2009 NPA convention.
2) Sign Up to Play Golf! Monday, Sept. 15, 2008 Royal Links Golf Club Las Vegas, Nevada
3) That's it. No #3. Just golf and a raffle. However, if you go to Vegas for the Parking Industry Institute's convention, I'm sure there will be politicians to buy, idiot laws to lobby for, and pitiful excuses for technology to purchase. After all, it's business and business is all about money. Our money.
Obviously, the "the industry’s constantly changing needs" are pretty easily met. Gamble, play golf, buy crappy technology that can't detect 700 pound motorcycles and everyone is happy. I'm sure there will be plenty of seminars on how to get your local municipality to pay for parking garages and other corporate welfare crap at their Parking Industry party in Vegas, but I'm also sure they won't be solving any problems that matter to any working humans.
Since when did parking become an industry? I'll bite, does a parking lot qualify as "systematic labor especially for some useful purpose or the creation of something of value?" I guess, since banking gets the term industry in this secondary definition, "a distinct group of productive or profit-making enterprises," parking is an industry. I'll never use that word with the same respect again. Banking and parking are industries. The world has sunk to new disgusting lows of inactivity and "money for nothing."
Which came first, the lacking of parking access or the limited number of motorcycles as part of the traffic solution?
I found another motorcyclist with an opinion on the parking quandary, Motorcycle Parking in NYC. Among some really depressing detail, he said "Many parking garages, even the open-air lots, will refuse to accept motorcycles. Some parking lot attendants mumble about insurance, some mumble about damages, and some mumble about liability. Some just mumble. You may be able to park by slipping the attendant some cash ($10 is a good start) and putting your bike in some out-of-the-way corner." Yet another good reason to bypass NYC if you are on a motorcycle. When I was on my way back from Nova Scotia last year, passing through the city didn't even come across my radar. Between the security issues with my gear and the traffic hassle, I had no interest in the Big Apple. "The fine for an obscured license plate or registration is $35.00. Any type of cover that goes over your plate or registration sticker is technically obscuring it." If I'd have known that, it would have just been another reason not to visit NYC.
There is an online petition for reasonable motorcycle parking in the City of Dallas, Texas. Dallas is a notorious motorcycle theft zone, dedicated and secure parking is beyond a need and into a necessity for Texas motorcycle commuters. For a city that could see 12 month motorcycle commuting, Dallas is notably motorcycle-free. The last time I visited Dallas, two years ago, I counted exactly 5 motorcycles on the road in 4 days. I have to wonder if Dallas has any motorcycle dealers, based on the tiny number of visible riders?
On the other hand, Seattle is going in the other direction, "Recent changes to the City’s restricted parking zone (RPZ) program mean that motorcycle and scooter users no longer need to purchase a permit to park in an RPZ (effective Jan 1, 2010) . . . More than one motorcycle may occupy a parking space as long as there is sufficient space and all parking regulations are observed. The City has also designated more than 100 parking spaces around the city for the exclusive use of motorcycles and scooters."
Of course, motorcycle traffic in Seattle is substantially above the national norm. Again, which came first: the motorcyclists or the parking availability? As you might have guessed, I have an opinion. I think motorcyclists have to come first. We have to be on the road, in parking spaces, in front of city councils, and causing political trouble while creating improved traffic flow. When we are as much of the daily traffic as Dr. Frazier's picture (at left), we'll have a real say in who gets to park where. Until then, motorcycles in America are nothing more than toys for the wealthy and the Parking Institute will have no reason to consider us along with their raffles, golf games, and politician purchases.