Magazine

From ‘Shoe-ista’ to ‘Shoupista’ – Enough Space for Shoes and Parking?

By Astrid Ambroziak

It was a cloudy Mother’s Day Sunday in Los Angeles. I decided to celebrate my mom by finally listening to her advice … and clean my closets.
Ever since I was a little girl, my mom would always reprimand me for being messy and cluttered. She would admonish me: “Less is more.” … “Honey, you don’t have enough room for all these clothes and all these shoes.”
This year, as every year, I was a dutiful daughter, sending my mother some flowers and a card. But to truly honor her, I decided to “de-clutter” my apartment and, finally, hear her wisdom.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a “shoe-ista.” I love shoes. If I am in a funk or down or even of a broken heart, putting on a sexy pair of stilettos always lifts my spirits. I might run out of tissue to dry my eyes, but I will never run out of a new pair of shoes.
It’s a Cinderella factor: Those new high heels on my feet make the world all right once again. There’s only one problem with keeping up with my Cinderella scenario: Where do I store hundreds and hundreds of these shoes?
My spring-cleaning, and finding enough room for my beloved shoes, made me think about the words of my friend as we canceled a date for breakfast Mother’s Day morning: Parking will be challenging. So while trying to find enough space for all my Manolos, I starteda wondering if we ever think about parking and where we can temporarily “store” our cars.
How does parking affect us on daily basis? Do we even consider parking when we make our trip plans, our shopping excursions, or when we purchase our cars? We consider the price of fuel, car insurance. Do we take into the equation the challenge and the cost of parking? Or do we take parking for granted?
If you live in NYC, chances are you gave up on car ownership. After all, parking in NYC is a challenge to say the least. To own a parking space in some garages, it often costs as much as a house in the Midwest. If you live in Queens or Brooklyn and decide to have a car and park it on streets nearby, you are sentenced to a game of musical chairs.
On street-cleaning days, you probably spend an hour or two sitting in your car waiting for that street cleaner to go by and for you to secure your spot for another week. Perhaps you use your car once a month, perhaps you don’t. Do you use it only on a street-cleaning day? If you move it at any other time, you might not be able to find that parking spot again.
Why do you even own a car? Wouldn’t it make more sense for you to rent a car on that rare occasion when you need to drive it?
I’m fortunate to live in an area of Los Angeles where I can walk pretty much everywhere. My flip-flops, my Manolos and my running shoes have many miles stamped on their soles.
My six-year old car has less than 12,000 miles. I’m not a fan of driving. Also, I’m not a fan of parking. I don’t like being stuck in traffic, and I don’t like hunting for a parking space. If I have to drive and park, if valet is available, I valet.
You won’t find me driving to a big grocery store on Sunday afternoon. I do my grocery shopping in the early hours of a weekday, while the parking lot of Ralphs is empty.
If I travel by plane, unless my trip is a short one, I will never park at the airport parking lot. I will take a shuttle or a taxi. After all, I am a shoe-ista, and I prefer to spend my hard-earned money on my stilettos.
The same goes for going to a concert. I get stoked when I get some amazing tickets to the Greek Theatre or to the Hollywood Bowl. I don’t mind spending $200 or more for two great seats, but I don’t like paying $30 for parking. I will often find out where there is lower-cost parking, or even free parking, and either walk or take a taxi. Often, parking in another location is $5 and a taxi ride an additional $10 at the most. Much cheaper, albeit less convenient. Convenience is pricy.
On Mother’s Day, looking for enough room to store my shoes made me realize that whenever we purchase something for the house, we contemplate if we have space for it. The other day I saw a great painting. I loved it and wanted to buy it immediately. What stopped me from purchasing it were my walls. I simply don’t have enough wall space.
After spending all-day Sunday reorganizing my closets, I realized that my mother has been right all along. I might have the means to afford my expensive shoe habit, but I don’t have enough space. So from now on, this Cinderella shoe-ista is turning herself into a Shoupista.
I am applying Professor Shoup’s theories to my closets … and to my driving and parking. I am pretty good at the latter and lousy at the former. It’s time to implement both.
Parking spaces are valuable real estate. Just as is the space in our closets and the space on our walls. The space of two cars parked behind each other at the curb could contain a small studio apartment. We expect to have that spot “given” to us for free. We pay our mortgage or our rent not realizing that that money also includes paying for our parking. If we don’t have it, we might be like the folks in Queens playing musical chairs with their cars.
In late April, San Francisco launched its highly anticipated SFpark program. Sensors will help officials adjust the meter prices based on demand. At 9 a.m., for example, the parking rate might be $2 an hour. At 2 p.m., that rate might be $12.
Will we finally realize that space is valuable – be it space for our shoes, our furniture or our cars? We might afford to pay for that space. Or we might simply start listening to our mothers and start de-cluttering our closets and our streets.
In this day and age, when our roads are crowded, our real estate expensive and our spaces limited, it’s much better to be a Shoupista than a Car-ista. I will still remain the shoe-ista, leaving less carbon footprint by walking more, driving less and enjoying the shoes that I park in my closets.
Astrid Ambroziak is a part-time trainer, writer, philosopher and guru. She lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at astrid@parkingtoday.com.

Article Abstract from July, 2011




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