Parking Perils

Palo Alto just approved a permit program for parking on downtown residential streets.

Usual story.  Downtown workers don’t want to pay for parking in city garages so they park for free on nearby streets.  This leaves the actual inhabitants of those streets with no place to park.

So starting soon, documented downtown workers and residents will need to purchase permits to park for more than two hours on the designated avenues.

Time will tell if the new system is successful, but right now there is a lot of griping about the cost of permits and such.

It reminds me my graduate school days when I was living a run-down neighborhood where the long-term residents resented the transient students.

Most of the homes were triple-deckers with street space for maybe two or three cars; fewer after a snow storm.  Each home could hold three families or as many as twelve students.  You do the math; even in a low-income area, parking was very competitive.

To exacerbate matters, the townies felt they “owned” the spots in front of their homes.  And they were very protective their “property”.

If a car driven by a non-resident of the building should start a maneuver to park, out would rush a screaming maniac swinging a baseball bat.

I couldn’t say if the bat was intended for the car or for the driver.  I never hung around long enough to find out.

Turns out survival of the fittest makes for a very effective no-cost, no-bureaucracy parking system indeed.

© 2014 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.

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