Saturday, January 06, 2007

No Parking Mo-Su

This article about parking in SF includes some choice nuggets.
Let’s get the ugle part out of the way first. Someone got killed saving a parking space for a friend. And assaults on meter butlers and maids have risen from 17 in 2005 to 28 in 2006. So something is obviously wrong. Still – and I guess the threat of violence makes it bizarrely funny to me – there’s this:
That frustration extends all the way to people like George Anderson, president of the American Association of Anger Management Providers, a mental health group, who said the parking problems here were so notorious that he had stopped holding paid lectures here.
“They’d be angry when they walked in,” said Mr. Anderson, a clinical social worker who lives in Los Angeles. “I’d spend half my time defending why I couldn’t include parking in the fee.”
Actually, they should hold the classes in a bus in congested traffic merging onto one of the bridges, only to have the tollbooth close right as they get there. Better yet, whenever someone feels ready to quit the anger-management course, that individual should be made to drive the class bus for a week, and the final exam is finding a place to park, downtown.

Then there’s this,
Nationally, parking is a $20 billion industry, experts say, with revenues divided almost equally between public and private entities.

Which reminds me of an idea I had while running. (You might notice that I develop most of my lame-brained ideas while exercising. That’s because I think they’re great precisely because I can’t write them down to look at and evaluate.)
Simply combine two problems for a lovely solution. Problem A: parking is impossible. Problem B: renting cars is way too expensive.
Solution: the department of transportation should rent cars. Simply take cars that have been impounded and not picked up in, say, a week, fix them up (the police department has its own mechanics, I think) and let them loose. Parking penalties should be much stricter, of course, resulting in impounds almost immediately in order increase the amount of cars available. And, finally, as special gimmick, a car rented from the department of transportation/the police comes with it’s own “free parking” certificate, for a fee, of course.
You’d probably end up with a crappy car, but you could double-park anywhere.
In order to avoid traffic congestion, the meter butlers and maids would ride in teams and double as valets. You’d get contacted on your cell phone and given a number to call for the car to be returned.
I’m sure the legislation could be arranged as long as there’s a proper bribery-scheme in place.
Just think of all the jobs it would create.

No comments: