Monday, March 21, 2011

No Silence from these Lambs, or Much Ado About Parking My Poor XJ6

Before I get fellow LCI and DFW blogger Steve Avery all worked up, let's just say I don't have anything against Jaguars or other nice vintage autos--or against their owners. Amonst a series of more mundane dinojuice burners, I've even had a couple nicer cars myself, a 1983 Porsche 944 and its 1989 supercar brother, the Jaguar-eating 944 Turbo ;-).  Nothing, either, against finding free onstreet parking in any given city. But let's not play martyr when spaces run short or priorities rightfully change.  In an ever more overpopulated and energy-short world, cars are increasingly a luxury and there is NO reason to encourage, by subsidy, ever more cars in a congested city. NYC is turning more of its thru transportation space over to bicyclists rather than using it for free car storage. OMG!!  Hence, when New Yorker author and blogger John Cassidy penned some agit-prop (a snipped excerpted below) over his complaints that NYC bike lanes keep him from having free curbside parking for his Jaguar, an XJ6, the bike community got pretty riled up.

 "...Part of my beef, then, is undoubtedly an emotional reaction to the bike lobby’s effort to poach on our territory. But from an economic perspective I also question whether the blanketing of the city with bike lanes—more than two hundred miles in the past three years—meets an objective cost-benefit criterion. Beyond a certain point, given the limited number of bicyclists in the city, the benefits of extra bike lanes must run into diminishing returns, and the costs to motorists (and pedestrians) of implementing the policies must increase. Have we reached that point? I would say so..." -John Cassidy

Aside from questioning the arrogant assertion that public rights of way belong to those who desire free parking (I wrote a substantial check every year to the Univ. of Hawaii in order to occasionally park my Turbo in the UH Manoa parking garage), I would opine that two hundred miles of bike lanes in a city the size of New York is a pretty thin blanket.  Mr. Cassidy, perhaps to apply a bit of fig leaf to his real gripes, i.e., scarce free parking, went on to attack the lanes on economic grounds. In response not only "the cycling flash mob" but the Economist's blogger Ryan Avent stepped in.

"...Now, if drivers paid for all the costs they impose on others, then it might be worth asking what the optimal level of bike lanes to have is and discussing whether the lanes themselves are subject to rising congestion and need to be priced. Of course, if drivers paid for all the costs they impose on others, there would be fewer drivers complaining about bike lanes and more people using them..."

Lucky we live in the backwoods of BombTown...I suppose. Not enough cars out here to have space wars of such existential passion although we will see some of this with Trinity Drive planning. Meanwhile, the world moves forward. In a post Peak-Oil world, free parking will probably be more abundant than Mr. Cassidy would like, since fewer and fewer of us will find fancy, low mpg dinosaurs-to-be affordable.

1 comment:

Steve A said...

Let me start by saying that I've got nothing at all against bikes (insert irrelevant anti-cycling diatribe of your choice here).

However, as the owner of TWO Jaguar XJ6 automobiles and an E-type, I feel compelled to note that most Jaguar owners do not expect to be provided with parking at taxpayer expense. It IS nice, however, that taxpaying cyclists helped build Texas Motor Speedway so we'd have our very own place to drive.

PS: I have a license plate holder that ties in with Khal's post. It says: "Warning, I brake for Porsches."