Kicking and Screaming every step of the way

This article in the LA Times has everyone a twitter. Those pesky Europeans have beaten us again – by golly. They have made the world cooler, or warmer, or something, by forcing people out of their cars. But cept, it may not be quite as simple as they say.

First of all, they comment on charging more to park in London if your vehicle puts out more CO2. Unless I’m mistaken, our UK correspondent has reported that the plan, in Richmond I believe, has been abandoned. What they found was that if someone could afford a Range Rover or Hummer, charging a few extra pounds to park made no difference and only caused grief for those writing citations.

“In other places across Europe they are actually using increased parking fees to decrease driving or free up on street parking to reduce cruising.” Sound familiar. Don Shoup call your office.

I’m not trying to poke holes in an article, but there is a slight other side. Ancient European cities like London, Copenhagen, Madrid, Hambrug, and Zurich are tiny compared to Los Angeles, Houston, New York or Atlanta. You can walk completely across London in a couple of hours (I know, I’ve done it.) Bicycles in Amsterdam and Copenhagen – now there’s a surprise. European cities were laid out for walking, carriages, and horses. Our cities were laid out, at least all those populated in the last 100 years, for automobiles.

I think it would be wonderful if there were no cars in LA. Of course then there was also be no people. Should we reduce traffic and the like? Of course. Will we? Of course. Will it be crisp and clean and easily done? No. It will be messy and political and we will do it kicking and screaming every step of the way.

But we will.

Oh, I would love to talk to Susan Carpenter (piece’s author) about her parking experiences and whether she feels that free parking should be abandoned in Westwood or if there is enough parking on Melrose or around the Grove in LA. The environmentally conscious students at UCLA near Westwood are out of control because the city is threatening to remove free parking in the area. Most reporters I have spoken to in the past few years are adamant that parking should be free and irate that they have to walk a couple of blocks to find parking when they go out in the evening. Hmmmmm


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