Star Wars parking restrictions sign crawl

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A wonderful thing.


Looking at all those signs is like reading an EULA.

Speaking of which, has anyone ever given EULAs the title-crawl treatment? I feel like we should.


See, the trick is they get so caught up in doing the math, by the time it takes to figure it all out they’ve already got a ticket/boot.


After spending a few hours diagramming all of this, the executive summary is I gotta get me one of them District 4 permits.

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New Yorkers got so fed up with this nonsense that the city actually hired a graphics design firm to simplify the readability of parking signs. Years ago I actually accosted a parking agent ticketing a car right under a sign that indicated it was okay to park there at that time. She pointed to a post at the other end of the block and said “you have to read all the signs on the Block!”


Permit parking is an idiotic concept. As is street parking in general, actually. The right to leave our shit (well cars, specifically) laying around all over public lands doesn’t sit well with me. And giving a privileged version of that right to people who reside adjacent to the public lands is even more offensive.

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How is the concept of “public parking” any more idiotic than the concept of having public roads in the first place?


Because people tend to view all development issues through the lens of “will it affect my street parking?” High housing cost is a function of low density in many cities, but density is vetoed by the residents at the same time as they bitch about cost.

In my city permits serve to keep suburban commuters from parking here and taking the train into Manhattan. Residents pay $15/yr.

Roads are thoroughfares to allow passage of people and things. It makes sense for them to be public. Storage (parking) is something quite different.

Roads are immense infrastructure projects that set aside huge areas of public land to facilitate the private ownership and use of automobiles. Parking spaces do much the same thing. The same taxes that pay for the land and the pavement our cars drive on also pay for the land and the pavement they park on.

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What you say is true, but it doesn’t mean that transport and storage are the same thing. The current situation where roads are primarily occupied by private cars that spend around 95% of their time parked is not the only possible model. A combination of shared mobility (Car-2-Go style), taxis & Uber-like services, public transport and active transportation would combine to form a completely viable model where street parking was simply not required. But it’s hard to imagine the transition, given how much we are in love with our cars.

There are many possible models, for better or worse we’ve chosen the “let’s encourage everyone to drive themselves around in privately owned automobiles” one. But making a collective decision to provide free parking spaces for cars isn’t really much different than making a collective decision to provide free racks to lock up your bike. It’s all about what the community decides to value.

Problem is as I said above, conservative forces limit change. Incumbents want street parking above all else, people who might move there if that street were converted to another use like Rapid Transit are not taken into account, since they don’t live there and no one is their advocate as long as community groups of current residents get to control this sort of planning rather than the city planning agency.

Just last week I spoke to a man who had been an activist for the building of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, the 1st major transit project in North Jersey in generations. There was only a couple of blocks run on residential streets, but the howling and battles just for that were epic.

It’s perhaps not different in concept, providing spaces for cars Vs bikes, but is vastly different in terms of outcomes. Giving up street parking is opposed vehemently by those who use it. The incumbent parkers are a force to be reckoned with. “Won’t somebody please consider our real estate ‘values’?”. In my neighborhood, where lots are generally large and potentially provide ample parking, households often have 4 or 5 vehicles, many of which are simply parked on the streets.

In North Vancouver, a couple of bitumen bike-paths were recently paved through an area of parkland. They are little used by cyclists as they have numerous road crossings, wind around unnecessarily, and are often blocked with walkers. They are also disliked by many walkers and other park users. The far better solution was to remove the street parking from the wide and fairly quiet street running parallel to the park, and re-purpose the existing transport corridor. It seems we value our parking more than we value our parks.

We also have the bizarre situation downtown, where vast swathes of underground parking (mandated at time of construction of the buildings) goes unused while the streets are clogged with parked cars (which are nightmare to navigate on a bicycle). It’s not getting better. A recent approval for condos provides three parking spaces for each 1000 sq. ft. condo.

One of the things we’ve done with our “always drive everywhere” model is that we’ve traded speed for distance. Our places of work, our recreational activities, our family and friends are now all a car ride away. I think it is sad. We’re less happy and less healthy as a result.

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