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Gilberto, Michael, Alicia and JVH

I appreciate that Tony Jordan’s Parking Reform Network has honored me by linking my comments on the city of Hartford’s Parking Tax. I posited that raising the tax per garage/lot from $1000 to in some cases up to $29,000 was simply not on.

Cities like Hartford have, it seems to me, two agendas. The first is to raise as much money as possible and taxation is the way to go. The second is to change the populace’s way of thinking, to get them out of their cars, and to get them on micro transit, buses, or trains. It would seem, I think, that they have a hammer, and their constituents have become nails.

For the record, I have always said that parking should never, that’s NEVER be free. Period. If a person can pay for a car, put gas and oil in it, insure it, maintain it, they can damn well pay to park it. That being said, there are ways to adjust the parking fees so they don’t become onerous.

Think of it this way. The wealthy can pay any amount to park their cars. If you charge $20 an hour to park on street, then they simply pay it. No harm no foul. The less advantaged, however, can’t afford to pay $20 an hour so they must either park further away and walk, or take the bus. So who exactly is having their lives altered, the rich or the not so rich.

This is my concern:

Our betters know what is best for all of us. They use charges and fees to change our attitudes and fit into their little boxes. For the rich, those fees mean little or nothing. However, for the rest of us, they mean a change in lifestyle. They meet in high rise offices, consider all the issues, and make decisions that affect real people.

Gilberto, who mows my lawn and does other repair around my house drives a pickup truck with all his tools in it. He has put a number of kids through college and in his later years brings his wife with him (she supervises.) He has to park on the street near all his customers. He also has to park on the street near his home. He needs his truck for his livelihood. How do onstreet parking charges deal with him. Does he just ignore them and then pay the tickets?

What about the Michael the handyman who fixes my rotten fence, repairs my bathroom, and paints my walls? He has the same problem. He is a one person company who survives day to day. Then there is Alicia who does heavy cleaning once a week. She has a number of customers and she moves from house to house, making her living. Where is she supposed to park for the few hours at each of her customers?

And what about the plumber, or the construction workers on the new house down the street, or… you get the idea.

There are solutions to all these issues. But the problem is expanded when you add in people who don’t have off street parking but need their cars to get to work.

In most cities, public transportation just doesn’t run when and where you need it. For instance. I live at the most 15 minutes from my office. However the bus takes an hour (with two changes) and drops me off conveniently a mile and a half away. Sorry but that just doesn’t cut it.

A reporter for the LA Times that supported metro rail decided to use the new line that went in near her home on the city’s westside. She described the trip – Uber 15 minutes to the station. 30 Minutes on the metro, then change for an additional 5 minutes. Then a six block walk to her office. Her commute was over an hour.  To drive it, 35 minutes, home to desk. Even in traffic. She said she wouldn’t take the metro again. She just didn’t have the time.

I know where she lives and there is no off street parking. So what does she do? I’m afraid our betters would say “move into a high rise near your office downtown. You will love it there. 900 square feet of total luxury. Walk to work, shop, clubs, restaurants. What a life.”

I think if she wants to move, perfect. But that should be her decision, not the decision of central planners who use the dollar to manipulate our lives.

Just sayin.

JVH

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