In the crowded neighborhood I lived during college I nearly cried every time I had to work a late shift, not getting off the clock until close to midnight. It wasn’t the long hours that made me verklempt. It was knowing what didn’t wait for me when I got home—a parking space.
Unless it was my week for the coveted parking space shared among four people, I could count on an additional 15 minutes of searching for an open space on the street—often blocks away from my apartment.
The frustration and anxiety when I left college and moved into a neighborhood filled with single-family homes and dedicated driveways abated for a time.
The roommate and I had plenty of parking to share.
Until redevelopment came along. (That which we call redevelopment by any other name would still smell of gentrification).
Sure enough as the mixed-use housing was erected, as the stores on the nearby thoroughfare became more posh and the streets more populated with pedestrians and motorists, parking woes bled over to our street one block away and beyond.
Before I knew it I was once again planning my outings so as to coincide with the least likelihood of giving up my street space when my roommate had the driveway in hand.
We dreaded festivals and tastes of and block parties—everything that attracted visitors to our neighborhood for a weekend.
I suspect anyone who has lived in a densely populated neighborhood has experienced the same inconvenience. Though, in the rain, in the dark or when you are exhausted from a long day and just want to rest, the absence of parking near your front door can feel like more than an inconvenience.
That’s why I am wincing at the thought of a new state law that relaxes parking requirements on housing developers. In short, come January anyone who is building high rises and condos, for example, will not be required to include parking spaces for residents.
The idea is that it will create more affordable housing because developers won’t have to factor into their costs the price of providing parking. Their savings will be passed on to the consumer.
Maybe they’ll have bridges to sell, too.