There’s always opportunity for improvement in what you care about though—I hear the fuming snarl of my significant other now— and among transportation, save for those metal albatrosses, cars have the most opportunity for rounded improvement, especially in dense urban areas. Which brings Radials to San Francisco (apologies to Los Angeles for the northbound detour), beacon of best intentions and often merited self-satisfaction, where parking is becoming a new cynosure of progress. From the New York Times via the The Bay Citizen on May 5th:
In San Francisco’s new parking scheme, Mr. Primus and his colleagues will adjust the prices at 7,000 meters and 20 city-owned parking garages with the aim of keeping two spaces available on every block. Drivers could pay from 25 cents to $6 an hour depending on demand. Currently, rates run from $2 to $3.50 an hour.
The goal of keeping two spaces open on every block almost seems a populist appeal and nonsensical (often the two are the same), $6 an hour isn’t prohibitive, it’s just expensive. But if the mission is to simply keep more cars garaged and increase mode share on public transit (BART and Muni) then it may be one of the more direct paths to that benign end. It may not be the formation of pedestrian only zones in major downtown areas (Elysian Fields covered in asphalt!) but it’s an essential incremental move towards making smart decisions based on one thing that actually matter: money.
“Smart” programs have been popular in politics and application lately, more so in the former than the latter, and that seems to be the most currently solution to an onset of increasingly severe problems. Electric efficiency can be solved by the smart grid congestion by smart tolls, big issues by ostensibly smart people. Now, apparently, parking can be solved by smart metering marked by precision and high tag prices which is actually a great way of going about it. Economic incentives are universal in a world defined by wallet girth, make those wallets lighter and people will adjust accordingly. It’s direct and vulgar but it’s going to keep more cars off the road.