Monday, September 22, 2008

Highland Park Transportation Presentation

Last week Howard/Stein Hudson presented the findings of their Transportation Study of the area.

We all agree that cars need to slow down, that intersections are dangerous, and that pedestrians are at risk everytime they take to the sidewalk. To permit park, or not to permit park - that is the question which will raise the most ire. In the presentation, the biggest reason given to oppose permit parking was that residents' dinner guests would have a hard time parking.

There are reasons to oppose resident permit parking in Highland Park other than dinner guests not being able to park - which makes an objection to permit parking sound almost frivolous. Having family and friends visit becomes a real production - even hardship- in the case of some of elderly relatives - when parking is restricted. A reform of Boston 's ridiculous permit system would be one worthwhile solution. Even Somerville has a better system.

More importantly, though, as the HSH survey noted, 27% of Highland Park residents don't own cars. Doing without the expense and hassle of a car is one of the biggest benefits of city living. Though we choose not to buy cars, they are sometimes a necessity in our car-centric culture and fortunately rentals and Zipcar are available. If Highland Park embraces permit parking , those of us who have chosen to live in an economical and environmentally beneficial way by eschewing the automobile as a "normal" part of life, will be penalized. Given the huge and very real threat of global warming, the American obesity epidemic,  and the almost daily and commonplace incidence of road rage, it's not the folks without cars who should take the hit.

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