I was going to write a column about parking, so I did my homework. I read, I interviewed, I worked hard, but when I finally sat down to do this, something dawned on me. Parking is boring. It is savagely, unmercifully dull. But, being a bit of a trooper, I thought “I can do this!” And you know what? I can’t — I gave up.
I was going to write about how neighbourhood parking in Victoria tends to favour residential use, leaving space immediately adjacent to village centres like Fernwood Square and Cook Street Village without on-street parking, effectively cutting them off from dozens of visitors every day who understandably don’t want to drive around for 20 minutes looking for a spot. But damn is that boring.
Then I thought I’d talk about how downtown parking stunts the Capital by making it damn near impossible to do things like live, work and shop downtown in anything more than one-hour intervals. Or how strict parking regulations serve to force working people (whose shifts are six and a half hours longer than parking regulations allow) to repeatedly perform the ridiculous task of getting into their car, moving it a block away, and going back to work. But we all knew that already.
So I moved on, figured I’d write all about surface parking — empty lots, potentially full of apartments or stores or skating rinks or farmer’s markets, but instead housing a few dozen cars. I’d say how this type of land use sacrifices interesting, dynamic, street-level life in favour of automotive dead zones.
Or what about the way that parking generally supplants pedestrian, cycling and other broader-use public infrastructure in favour of a fairly unimaginative answer to the question: “Where do I put my car while I’m doing something more interesting than driving?”
Unfortunately, none of this is very interesting.
I was going to write about all of this, about parking as a driver for community-based economies, a seemingly unnecessary exercise in inefficiency and exhaustion, and an aspect of car culture which has, for the past 60 years, steadily drained the life out of urban, rural, human and animal environments in favour of convenience.
Thankfully, I realized it was a terrible idea — what rational person would ever want to read an entire article about parking? M