More Park(ing) Day: San Fran Rolls Out the Parkcycle

parkcycle.jpg 

I was pretty sure that New York City had San Francisco beat for this year’s Park(ing) Day, what, with the children’s reading hour and the on-street gymnasium in Brooklyn; Staten Island and Queens getting in on the act; and German tourists frolicking on the sod in front of the MoMA (all captured by StreetFilms, of course). Then I saw photos of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome admiring Rebar Group’s Parkcycle — literally, a pedal-powered park on wheels — and I realized that we had been foiled again. Back to the drawing board New York City Park(ing) fans. We’ve got 12 months to come up with something better than this…


Honorable mention this year goes to Los Angeles. The hometown of international parking guru Donald Shoup put together quite a Park(ing) Day with somewhere around 35 spots set up all over the city. You can download their map, read about it in the Los Angeles Times and look at photos on Flickr.

Finally, a Streetsblog tipster points us to some Park(ing) criticism from an unexpected source. Over at ESPN.com we get an inside-the-beltway, baby-boomerish perspective on Park(ing) Day from Gregg Easterbrook, a contributing editor of The Atlantic Monthly and New Republic, and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Perhaps unaware of real-world experience in places like Copenhagen, Paris and London, where traffic congestion has been reduced and quality of life improved by transforming on-street parking space into express bus lanes, bike paths, public plazas and even playgrounds, Easterbrook writes, "However on-street parking is priced, the core of the problem is the
need to build more parking spaces and parking garages." Without providing much in the way of facts, data or best practices from other cities to back up his argument, he continues:

The idea that
parking "only encourages more cars" is fallacious in the same way it’s
fallacious to argue that building roads only encourages cars. More cars
are coming in any case: the questions are whether they will have places
to park, and whether traffic will get a lot worse or only somewhat
worse. Traffic jams and parking hassles are leading causes of modern
stress. Stress is bad for us; thoughtful government planning should
seek to make people’s lives less stressful; this means more roads and a
lot more parking spaces should be built. Roughly 2 percent of the
global GDP is dedicated to parking costs. That’s not enough!


Photo: Squash on Flickr

  • In part an illustration of what happens when you read about Shoup without actually reading Shoup.

  • Gargamel Tralfaz

    I am jealous.

  • Spud Spudly

    Even I have to disagree with Easterbrook on that one. The guy’s a little kooky sometimes. Maybe he should just stick to writing about football (which he knows a lot about, btw).

  • Damien

    Easterbrook is correct when he says, “The idea that parking “only encourages more cars” is fallacious in the same way it’s fallacious to argue that building roads only encourages cars. ” They are both fallacious in the same way: neither idea is fallacious.

    If he had stopped there, he would have accidently been correct. Too bad.

  • tps12

    With Easterbrook, “perhaps unaware” is being unreasonably generous. He has an impressive track record of being completely full of shit. He did a column a couple years ago about how string theory suggested that God lived in the eleventh dimension. No joke.

  • Eric

    Easterbrook, it seems, is — hard as it is to believe — not joking. But he is dead wrong, especially about stress. I can’t recall the last time — or any time, for that matter — that I felt stressed on my bike. But I probably suffer an elevated heart rate every other time I get behind the wheel. So if he’s interested in reducing his stress level, he ought to buy a bike.

    And Spud, as for his being an expert on football, Easterbrook was also flat wrong about the “falling-down tight end play” in the Falcons-Panthers game. Alge Crumpler was not wide open; he was closely covered, but still made the catch and broke a tackle on his way to the end zone.

  • Spud Spudly

    Didn’t see it myself and I’ve only read a few of his columns since he moved to ESPN.com. I also don’t like how he refers to the Giants as Jersey-A. But he once included in his column something I said on Slate.com — that a fumble by a defensive player in the act of returning a fumble or interception should be called a “dumble”. So I give him a pass.

  • Eric

    Fair enough. But he still ought to try a bike.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Easterbrook seems completely clueless on this one. The only explanation I can give is that he’s somehow unable to envision life without cars.

  • Gizler

    No surprise there, Easterbrook has always been an unthinking blowhard. The only mystery is how he was ever given positions at reputable magazines. (Or one, at least . . I may be giving TNR too much credit).

  • Jason

    Easterbrook gives us a great example of someone who “can’t see the forest for the trees”. ‘Drivers circle for street parking because it’s so cheap (government subsidized) they are willing to waste time looking for it? Clearly that means we need more cheap parking!’

    His perspective is certainly that of the car-addicted, entitled, establishment Boomer, but “Inside the Beltway perspective” might not be the best term, as he actually lives far enough from DC that he’s outside I-495 😉 (The Capital Beltway)- out in Maryland’s leafy McMansion car-burbs, that are so obviously destined for obsolescence.

  • mork

    OMG!!!!! WHERE ARE THEIR HELMETS!!!!!!??????

  • Here’s a link directly to the offending portion of Easterbrook’s column:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=easterbrook/070925&sportCat=nfl#campaign

    (Some may find other portions of the column offensive, particularly women, Dick Jauron, Dan Rather, &c. This is the link to the parking-related offensive portion.)

  • Felix

    Wasn’t Easterbrook the guy who was telling us in 2000 that Bush was going to be a great environmentalist, or am I thinking of someone else?

  • tps12

    Yes, Felix, that was him. He is an incredible idiot. And a horrible sexist, as Sean reminds us.

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