Public Ownership of On-Street Parking


James Kennedy has responded to my response to some tweets from him reacting to something I’d written, which might have been a response to something he wrote, but I don’t remember, and I’m not going to go digging that deeply into the exchange.  Instead, I’ll continue the thread in the other direction (i.e., forward).

First a general statement: I don’t think Kennedy and I are that far off on this particular issue, but I get the sense he wants affirmative agreement in an area in which I’m only interested in delving far enough to offer broad thoughts and suggestions.  Truth be told, even to the extent that it’s my business to tell Providence what to do about parking (because my state-level taxes ultimately filter there and because I go there not infrequently), I don’t have a lot of spare mental energy to devote to unraveling this particular problem free of charge.

In the spirit of broad thoughts and suggestions, and although it seems pretty self-explanatory to me, I suspected that some folks would find a statement odd that Kennedy did, indeed, find to be odd.  I suggested that city management of parking could provide “the rationale for government ownership of the means of parking,” which leads him to point out:

Government already owns the means of parking–it’s the street! The distinction is not between having on-street parking being owned by the government or not, but between having government own the parking and give it away for free, or having government charge a market-based price for it.

The thing is: The streets didn’t have to be wide enough to accommodate parking.  Many aren’t.  Sidewalks could be broader.  The land could be sold, either for buildings to expand outward or for some other purpose, like on-street kiosks.  Or the city could sell the parking to private businesses to run, with some arrangement when it repaving time comes.  In some circumstances, it could conceivably eliminate parking and increase the usable road, thus freeing up some other entire street that would no longer be needed.

I’m not suggesting any of these things as universal rules, but they’re all theoretically plausible.  A well-considered policy should understand why this particular real estate is being used for parking and why the city government should be the one determining rates and such.

  • ShannonEntropy

    My last post here was about Brown University so this one may as well be about it too

    A Classic quote …

    The Three Main Concerns of an University President are =►

    … Sex for the Students; Parking for the Faculty; and Sports for the Alumni

    Parking on the east side of LaProv is the weak point in those three.

    Wanna buy a house on Benefit St ??

    GOOD LUCK even providing Your Own parking !!

    • Rhett Hardwick

      There was a news report, jibe, that since Amendolla’s address has been given out, the neighbors are now distressed by the number of women cruising the street and interfering with traffic. In living memory, Benefit St. was a flophouse district. My mother inherited one and I recall going there with my father who used a chainsaw to cut up the furniture and throw it out a window. My memory isn’t clear, but I think they got $6,000 for it.

      • ShannonEntropy

        In living memory, Benefit St. was a flophouse district …

        You got that right ,, Rhett !!

        A friend of mine got nabbed back in 1986 when the po·po raided a duplex on Benefit St being operated as a “house of ill repute”

        Plus ça change ,, plus c’est la même chose !!

        • Rhett Hardwick

          I have known several women who graduated from Brown in the early 80’s. I am surprised they could only find 46 photos. I suppose this was before “Brown Women” developed the current attitudes. I recall lots of lurid stories about the competition to “get” certain professors for the semester.

          Wahr, aber es kommt immer an meine Tür.

          • ShannonEntropy

            That must be an idiom … is there an English equivalent ??

            Like “beso botella” means “kiss the bottle” in Spanish … but we would say “take a swig”

            What is “True” ??

          • Rhett Hardwick

            That must be an idiom … is there an English equivalent ?? I understood your French to be “what goes around, comes around”. My response “true, but it always comes in my door”.

            “beso botella” means “kiss the bottle”, yes and “vaso” means glass. Not being much of a bottle drinker, I once requested a “baso” at a Mexican bar, heads turned at that one.

          • ShannonEntropy

            That French phrase is a classic aphorism that we also have in English

            It literally means ” The more things change ,, the more they stay the same “

            As for screwing up Spanish … I noted that every trash container has the word BASURA on it. Here every trash receptacle has THANK YOU on it … so I thought ‘basura’ was just another way to say ‘thank you’

            So when a waiter served me a dee-lish paella ,, I enthusiastically told him

            ” ¡¡ Basura ,, Señor ,, Basura !! “

            Unfortunately … ‘basura’ is the Spanish word for “garbage”