Saturday, October 25, 2008

Parking - A privilege or a right?

It has long been discussed that driving in the State of Kentucky is a privilege and not a right. The privilege of driving is granted after one has demonstrated ones ability in written tests and road driving skills tests. The same cannot be said for parking.

After taking the road skills portion of the driving tests and what passes for a parallel parking attempt, most people forget all they know or were ever taught about parking. I remember trying to parallel park the first time, boy was I scared, and from what I've seen lately a lot of current drivers still are. I have observed from my office window more than a few drivers make more than several attempts at hitting the three parallel spaces accross the street.

Parking lots are not even covered in the driving manual so most people don't know why the white lines are there. On private property apparently the lane markings and arrows do not mean the same thing as on the public streets. On my way home the other day I stopped at the grocery and while waiting for a space to clear,while the occupant was backing up, another vehicle entered the space from the far side, a perpendicular parking space to an angled one. The driver, I dare not call her a lady, then carefully retrieved her child while I found another space and followed them into the store. I could have made a deal of it, (it wasn't worth it) but I let it go, I just can't challenge all the stupid in Lexington. My complaint was , that she was so careful with her child yet drives like there are no rules.

Parking to most Americans, and especially those living outside large metropolitan areas, is thought of as a right. American drivers feel that they have the right to park their personal vehicle as close as possible to where they are at the moment. It is almost as if it were in the Bill of Rights somewhere, maybe even close to the top ten. As much as most know about the Constitution it may well be in there too. Its not, I did a word search. Parking our cars does not seem to have changed from since we rode horses or drove buggies to town back when we were an agrarian society, at least then we took better care of our transportation modes than we do now.

I know that someone has done a study about parking lot area vs. building area and found that we have more acreage in surface parking than under roof in our urban areas. It would not surprise me if we also had more area set aside for parking than we do for driving, although that may vary by region or state. I need to research this a little more.

I guess that where I'm going with this is, to own a car is a privilege you pay for, to drive a car is a privilege you pay for and where you store your car on your own property is something you pay for, and where you park your car anywhere else is a privilege that you should realize that you pay for. Your privilege is paid for by everyone whether the park or not, in the increased prices due to construction and maintenance of the parking be it by private owner or the government in the form of higher taxes.

More on this later

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