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“THAT’S THE TICKET” (9/24) did little to enlighten us on the issue of parking in the District. In order to understand the problems and move toward solutions, we need to have an accurate view of the privileged status of motorists and automobiles in D.C.
Automobiles, moving and idle, dominate almost every right of way in this city. A vast portion of the District’s public space is reserved for cars in the form of free curbside parking. It is ridiculous that motorists should whine when the space they have been given proves insufficient or when they are ticketed for abusing their privileges. Private automobiles are no more a part of this city’s infrastructure than are bicycles or, for that matter, shoes. These vehicles are private property and, in most cases, their owners are incapable of storing them. The government should make no provisions for the storage of any private property.
Cars are, however, integral pieces of a transportation system which is increasingly ineffective, expensive, inefficient, obtrusive, dangerous, and destructive. The District government should make every effort to support and encourage non-automobile transportation while requiring motorists to pay a fair price for their practice. This should certainly include a market-rate user fee for parking on public land, strict parking enforcement, and a tax on the fouling of air.
Federal laws are in place which both require and facilitate a shift toward non-automobile transportation. But the District remains uninterested in solving our air quality, traffic, and parking problems. They are concerned only with pleasing the pampered prima donna of parochial politics, the motorist.