Thursday, November 19, 2009

Direct democracy, OMG

Last night Mr. TA and I attended a meeting for residents who live on our block and the few surrounding blocks, to discuss a proposed Mt. Pleasant "day parking pass" pilot program. My feeling on the issue: Sure! Our mini-area of the 'hood is mostly residential and there's lots of parking during the day. Until recently anybody could park on the street at any time on our block, so employees of the nearby elementary school and nursing home used to park there when they were at work.

Six months ago or so some residents circulated a petition to change our street from "anybody can park here" to "you can only park here for two hours unless you have a residential parking pass." I signed it so people on our block would be able to park on nearby blocks without getting ticketed, and also based on the understanding that they were going to start this "day pass" program, so the school and nursing home employees could buy a daily parking pass for $2.50 or so a day (approximately the cost of a round-trip bus trip).

Well, they started the residential parking pass thing but somehow the day parking pass thing went to shit, so now the school and nursing home employees get ticketed if they park on the street. I had vaguely understood that the going-to-shit was due to the employees having shot themselves in the foot by complaining about the fact the passes were going to cost anything at all.

But this community meeting suggested that, in fact, what has bolluxed up the day parking pass plan may be an smallish contingent of people who are going all NIMBY ape-shit about ... nurses and teachers parking in front of their houses during the day? Or, being pissed off at the idea of other people parking for cheapish while they have to pay a lot to park where they work. Or, having a self-righteous environmental reaction of wanting to deter other people from driving (although presumably most of these people wouldn't care about parking at all if they didn't have a car, plus they can afford to live in our lovely, fairly central D.C. neighborhood from where it is easy to get downtown, whereas if you live in a cheaper outlying suburb, getting to Mt. Pleasant on public transportation would be a major PIA.) (I of course did not mention at the meeting that we don't have a car, figuring that might invalidate my opinion.) Or, they were against it for some other reason I could not entirely discern even after they talked about it in a pissed-off-but-not-very-coherent way for several minutes.

The upshot was that the general idea of the day parking pass program was "approved" on a straw poll vote of 8-7. It would have been 7-6 against if Mr. TA and I had not randomly decided to go to the meeting. Direct democracy, dude, I don't know.


Anonymous said...

maybe you should run for the ANC. :)


TA said...

Yeah, except hell no.

Mr. TA said...

I already ran for the ANC when we first moved to DC. (True, sort of).