Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Signs of Civilized Cities, Part II

London, I read today, just created 900 free, dry, indoor parking spaces for two-wheeled vehicles in its downtown garages. It also lowered the existing cost of an all-day street parking pass for scooters and motorcycles to £1 (while cars pay £4/hr.) London is slightly behind such forward-thinking cities as Lancaster, PA, which created similar spots two years ago. But apparently the mayor of Lancaster owns a scooter, so that might explain that city's lead. In Christchurch, NZ (population: just slightly more than the Smallish City) there are 34 outdoor parking locations, and in the garages scooters are "fine"-- they just have to find a corner that doesn't take up a car space, and pay half the usual parking fee.

Meanwhile here in the Smallish City, I'm pretty sure our mayor doesn't drive a scooter. Winter is over, but scooterists are still without any legal place to leave their vehicles downtown for longer than two hours-- and that only outdoors, at parking meters, for the same price as parking a Hummer. Ironically, if you're going to be in town for an 8-hour workday, you can bring your Jeep Grand Cherokee and park in a garage-- but your scooter is banned from the garages, so you can't drive that to work (unless you're willing to go move it to a new parking space every two hours.) We await the implementation of a city council directive to create 8 free outdoor parking locations; there was an indication that this might happen by Memorial Day, but that's this weekend and I haven't seen any action at street level yet.

And scooters will still be banned entirely from the covered garages here, rather than invited in for free as in London and Lancaster. Which really makes no sense if you're trying to have a city with fewer cars, less congestion, less pollution, easier parking, and less acreage dedicated to vehicle storage, and you would like people to opt for a scooter rather than a car even if it might rain today.

On the other hand, it makes sense if-- well-- if I don't know if what. Maybe on another planet.


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