LA Observed

TJ on the radio

LA Observed contributor TJ Sullivan talks about the new parking regulation controversy in Los Angeles with Warren Olney on "Which Way, L.A.?" on KCRW at 7:30 p.m. He's up against UCLA professor Donald Shoup, a leading proponent of pricing parking meters at a high enough level to deter driving. TJ's latest at Native Intelligence:

Although a good argument can be made about the beneficial deterrent effects of higher-priced curbside parking specifically the increased motivation for commuters to carpool that wasn't the reason the city hiked the fees last year. Rather, the fee hike provided a source of much-needed revenue, and that's a much bigger problem that isn't about to go away.

No one who expects to be taken seriously in this discussion would be so foolish as to suggest parking ought to be free. And, maybe 25 cents was too little to charge per hour in any part of the city. But taking rates as high as $4 an hour in some areas, in addition to increasing the hours of operation in both the morning and evening, is definitely too much too fast....

At some point, we're going to have to ask whether this is parking skulduggery because, once the dollars start to flow into city coffers, the meter-revenue claim is sure to smack of bureaucratic doublespeak. As the source of the increased revenue is revealed we'll see that they really meant "meter-maid revenue." We can already guess from whence a lot of this money will come, not in quarters from the meters, but rather from the checks we'll all write to pay the parking citations we'll find tucked beneath the windshield wipers on our cars. And that doesn't seem fair, or just.

[skip]

Who parks at the meters? It's not the Lincoln Town Cars with chauffeurs at the wheel. It's the rest of us.

It's part-time students at UCLA who are taking just one class and can't afford a parking pass. It's people using the Central Library downtown, where the parking garage used to be reasonably priced, but now can cost as much as $9 for three hours, and another $4 for every 10 minutes after that, up to $36.50!

It would be one thing if LA had the public transportation system of San Francisco, or New York, but we don't.

Also at Native Intelligence: Adrienne Crew praises the old L.A. images that the MTA's Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library has put online for easy viewing.


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