November 10, 2015 > Editorial: Duality
Testing the viability and trustworthiness of a plan or presentation can be difficult since often its validity is based on the perspective of those receiving the information. In the case of LennarÕs recent presentation to FremontÕs City Council concerning development of a large section of land contingent to the Warm Springs BART station, parking plans for residents are, at best, problematic.
A favorite of planners these days is to excise parking problems by simply ignoring them. Instead of providing adequate parking to satisfy current requirements, the concept of Òshared parkingÓ combined with inadequate on-street space is offered as a substitute. A wink and nod to local traffic concerns is all that is required to win approval by City functionaries. The issue seems to be that those who live in comfortable surroundings either within or outside city boundaries are satisfied with theoretical solutions as long as they are not personally impacted. How many of them would be comfortable in a 400 square foot apartment? How many spend an inordinate amount of time searching for a parking space either at home, at work or shopping?
With eyes on a future goal of reducing or removing automobiles in the future, present circumstance of car ownership is sacrificed. Struggles between past/present and future are not unique; even ancient Romans had to deal with the duality of time and motion. The Roman God Janus is shown with two faces, symbolizing a duality of time Ð past and present. When the Greeks assimilated many Roman deities, they were unable to change Janus; he was left to a singular status. The duality of time was recognized as a struggle, a doorway or gate to transition.
Looking toward a world filled with total reliance on mass transit, Uber and the like does not remove the present filled with multi-car families with five year loans on one, two or more cars. Even when alternative transportation is available, cars that are theoretically redacted from existence or alternated with commercial and retail automobiles by planners remain in place, exacerbating the frantic search for parking space.
The concept of shared parking is based on the theory that people Ð and their automobiles - will move in predictable and complimentary movement patterns by others. Flex schedules, vacations, weekends and alternative behavioral models are ignored. Lennar envisions a residential development that assigns one parking space per living unit plus additional free-for-all parking shared with commercial/retail space. Even one-bedroom units may include more than one car. Additional space for visitors except in Òshared parkingÓ is a pipe dream.
I understand the need for affordable housing and economic restrictions of development but the concept that people occupying spaces near mass transit do not own or need multiple automobiles is a bit na•ve. Practical plans can look toward the future but must appreciate the present to find compromises that assist rational and reasonable development. We cannot live in one universe and assign transportation and parking problems to another.