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.