One Size Fits All
We don’t like suburbanites; we don’t want them coming into the city; we don’t want them to patronize our shops or work in our businesses. If they must come here, they should leave their cars at home and take the subway or buses or, better yet, bicycle or walk. That’s healthier and more environmentally correct, anyway. Those are the messages sent by the Washingtonians in the more than four hundred comments to Sunday’s Washington Post article by Tim Craig, "DC Implementing Parking Rules to Limit Visitor Spots, Discourage Driving,"http://tinyurl.com/br85hg9. Here are the first four sentences of the article: "District officials are reserving thousands of on-street parking spaces for residents on weekdays in the city’s most crowded neighborhoods, part of an aggressive effort to limit spots for visitors. The restrictions are a slice of a city strategy to promote bicycling and mass transit while increasing the odds that residents can find parking. The changes, which could affect as many as 10,000 spaces, come as the city eliminates some on-street parking to make room for bicycle lanes and prepares to set aside hundreds of meters for the disabled. ‘That is the sign of the future, that discourages car ownership,’ said DC Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1)." Angelo Rao, manager of the District’s parking and streetlight program, "said the new revisions, which will affect as many as twenty parking spaces per city block, are driven both by residents’ concerns about a lack of on-street parking and a broader city policy to encourage less vehicle traffic."
Suburbanites who comment on the article respond mostly that they experience the city as a hostile, unfriendly place, anyway, and don’t see any need to come into town except for a rare visit to the monuments and the museums. Is this the way to market DC to new residents or potential new businesses? Is this even thinking about Washington constructively as what political leaders claim to believe is "one city"? Divide the city into eight wards, and deliberately make it difficult for people who live in any of the wards to have guests, visitors, or workers who come from any of the other wards? If you shop for something bigger than you can carry in your arms as you walk, or bigger than you can fit in your bike’s basket, you should drive to Maryland or Virginia so you can shop in a store where you can park?
If you’re young and healthy, or if you’re alone in life, you’re welcome in the city. As long as you’re grocery shopping for yourself alone, and can fit what you buy into your bicycle basket, you’re welcome to live here. If you do a weekly grocery shopping for a family of four, move out of town. We don’t want you and your and your cancer-producing automobile here. Earlier this month, Zoning Commission Chairman Anthony Hood made the commonsense observation that, "Some of us who are riding bikes now will not be riding bikes later. And then also, we need to make sure we balance the development we do in this city for all, ’cause I haven’t seen too many people go to the grocery store and come back with their groceries on a bicycle,"http://tinyurl.com/c8nxs6g. He was mocked by people who said that, of course, they carried their groceries on their bicycles. These are people who see their lifestyle, their current lifestyle, as the normal, natural way that everyone should live, and are scornful of anyone who would actually buy provisions for an entire family.
If you’re running a business that requires patronage from more than the fifteen thousand people or so who live in your immediate neighborhood, take your business to the suburbs. If your employees want to drive to their work instead of spending hours a day on public transportation, take your business to the suburbs. This city’s planners have decided that it should be only for young, wealthy, single hipsters. Families and old people and people who have friends in distant neighborhoods aren’t welcome. They may as well be suburbanites.
The Passing of Lawrence Guyot
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