Parking Spaces Turned Into Actual Parks; Really, Portland?
Friday was international Park(ing) Day which meant cities across the world turned parking spaces into public spaces for other uses. Portland, Maine was one of those cities, but does it really accomplish anything other than anger people?
Brace yourself. It's rant time, and I know people who support International Park(ing) Day aren't going to like this, but they're free to share their opinion in the comments.
According to their website, International Park(ing) Day has three goals:
- Encourage residents, designers, businesses, artists, activists, and community organizations to use their streets for creative placemaking and street prototyping
- Strengthen community connections
- Increase awareness about the importance of walkable, livable, and healthy cities
To me it just seems like a big protest of the automobile, the way Mainers get just about everywhere. Portland, Maine however is a lot different than most states in the country. There is no mass transit into the city. There are buses that go to a few of Portland's suburbs and the Amtrak Downeaster, but if you don't live in Portland, there really aren't a lot of options to get here unless you drive.
Will mass transit from Windham, Scarbrough, Brunswick, Freeport, Saco/Biddeford and other surrounding towns and cities that people commute from ever be a thing? With only 38,265 employees in Portland, it seems unlikely.
Take a guy like me who wakes up at 3:30 a.m. and commutes 25 minutes from Windham to Portland to work. There is no other option. Once I'm here parking is ridiculously expensive. Metered spaces are $1.50 an hour for a maximum of two hours before you have to move your car. Parking spaces and garages will run you $5 an hour and well over $100 a month. So I find the few remaining free parking spaces on the peninsula and walk 10 minutes from there to work.
More and more hotels are being constructed in Portland in existing parking lots which is starting to leave commuters with less and less options, but that's a debate for another time.
I'm all for people letting their voice be heard on their cause, I just think it's a futile one. We're Mainers. We like our independence. We're not San Francisco or Boston. We want our places to park, so can you find another place to make yourselves heard so we can park our car there and go about our business?
Go ahead and let me have it with your differing opinion in the comments below or on our Facebook page.