Thursday, January 7, 2010

Integrating Transit Problems to Create a Solution

Over the past couple of weeks I have consumed as much local media outlets, in their many versions, and so much of it revolved around transportation. I have picked one, or two, maybe it is three, and combined them into a proposed solution.

Just today at Publicola.net two problems had shown up in one story, SE Seattle Residents to Protest Light-Rail Density Here the push for high density housing is pushing up against citizens that do not want all the cars parked on their streets, and the lower economic class of people they think will be the primary consumers of this housing. There is also this strange desire to build giant cubes of apartments, or condos, without parking for cars. This is claimed to "encourage" transit use. That is just encouraging parking on the street, and that is a problem.

In fact, newly elected Mayor Mike McGinn of Seattle mentioned last week that "storing" cars on streets is a problem. (CityStream, SeattleChannel) Why? Because buses are trapped in traffic. In order to get dedicated bus transit lanes the parked cars on the street must leave the street.
Restricting parking, while claiming that it promotes transit use has very limited results (look around). Until mass transit can provide better service to more people those people will find a way to get to their jobs, and schools, and grocery stores, using cars.
I think it is unrealistic to think that people will give up cars on one day in hopes that at some point in the future transit will catch up with the demands of more people.
So, what to do with the cars?

Meanwhile, Publicola.net reported today this:
The city has issued a cease-and-desist order against the Grocery Outlet at MLK Jr. Way S. and S. Rainier Ave. for illegally operating a park-and-ride for light rail users. According to the order, issued by the Department of Planning and Development in September, park-and-rides are illegal in areas near rail stations. The violation carries a fine of up to $500 per day.


Hey, that is not a "problem, that is a solution. Further, if there is a push to build giant cubes of density near transit centers, rather than giving builders a break by allowing them to build without also building parking for cars, insist that parking is built. Get as many cars off the streat lanes we call parking lanes.
Here is my idea; allow a condo builder to "sell" the parking to the condo home owners association as a shared asset. Change the law to allow condo associations to lease on a monthly bases unused parking to help offset home owner dues.

If the transit proponents are right then the condo owners would have an asset that could pull cars off the street near transit centers, and allow them to offset shared expenses.
Allow existing condo owners the same right, as long as there are not security issues involving garage access to other common areas.
While the transit/density proponent are wrong, at least currently, then condo owners will have off street parking for their evil electric cars.

It me be desirable for a builder to have extra spaces on the property made for this express intent.

A similar situation could be extended to some apartment builders.

There, a solution.

Have a great day,
Mr. Baker

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