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Street Spots Disappear

VOICES / A Forum for the Community Issues | Essay

August 19, 2000|DAMON HERRING | Damon Herring lives in Alhambra

In our automobile-dominated city, where finding a parking space is often a problem, who should have the last say about street parking? In various neighborhoods throughout the city where parking spaces are in short supply, residents have banded together to create preferential parking zones to entitle them to park preferentially on their own street.

I believe no one would argue about a person's desire to park on their own street, but how do we strike a balance between desires of the residents to control parking and the overwhelming need for parking spaces by employees of local businesses, students attending classes and visitors?

Are we taking this to the extreme? What happens when residents of a particular street don't have a parking shortage, don't need to park on the street, but they don't want nonresidents to park on "their" street?

This is the current trend in Pasadena. Local residents have decided they don't want outsiders parking on their public, nonrestricted street. They have called and complained to their city councilperson, who in turn has called the nearby businesses to instruct them not to let their workers park on that street. Have we taken selfishness and territoriality too far? If there was a parking shortage in this Pasadena neighborhood, we would probably all be a little more understanding, but as of today, there is an abundance of spaces on these streets. Has the public street become the private domain of the residents who live on that street? I hope not, or we'll all be driving around even more in search of the ever-elusive parking space.

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