Yuppie says what?

A more modern Parking Meter with a digital display

Image via Wikipedia

I found Mary Schmich’s recent column on the parking meters hilarious and upsetting at the same time. In her column, Schmich explains her preference for the new parking boxes because now she can always find parking.

And parking is easier with the new boxes.

It’s easier to find a spot to park. It’s easier to pay.

It’s also true that parking costs more now.   That hurts. But cheap parking isn’t all good.   It encourages people to drive and so discourages them from taking public transportation.

via Paying a compliment to the new parking boxes — chicagotribune.com.

It’s all well and good to get people to use public transit, even if that public transportation system is in need of major overhauls.   It’s widely known that CTA ridership exceeds capacity during rush hour, that the train bridges are crumbling, and there is no way to transfer between lines except at the loop.   Schmich also mentions riding your bike, which would have been a better point in June.  In October, during the rain and snow, it’s not quite as practical.  Why doesn’t Schmich ride her bike? (Oh, yeah,  because she can afford parking.)

Schmich mistakenly assumes the anger is over a 10-second walk, and has clearly not read this piece on how the new parking meter boxes are devastating business on Clark.

It’s true — this is a common complaint — that now you have to walk up the block to get to the box and then walk back.

Fellow citizens, please.   Chicago prides itself on being tough.  We can’t handle a 10-second walk?

The “10-second walk” is a fairly  obvious straw-man argument.  When people have complained about the walk, it’s usually been in reference to the possibility of getting a ticket in the time it takes to pay the box.

Schmich’s article unfortunately views the parking problem through her financially secure, well-to-do lifestyle.   At a time when most people are struggling with debt, jobless, or at the least trying to pinch pennies wherever possible, Schmich’s column seems staggeringly out of touch.   Her article is the mental hoop jumping of a yuppie ignoring the fact that she can park because others can no longer afford to.

Take the train she says!  Let them eat cake!

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4 Comments on “Yuppie says what?”

  1. Marjie Killeen says:

    I see your point about cost vs. availability, so I’m embarrassed to say that when I read Mary Schmich’s column, I agreed with it.

    Parking on the streets of Chicago is daunting, especially for suburban me, who gets into the city only a few times a month. To avoid the hassle and anxiety, I take the train whenever possible. However, the one time I did have to use the new meters, I was relieved to find a spot right away and the whole payment process efficient and stress-free. But it was expensive, and for a regular parker, that creates a different kind of stress!

  2. Laura Heller says:

    Here’s another thing that’s puzzling and seemingly elitist about the parking boxes — they don’t take dollars, just credit cards and coins. Businesses in commercial districts aren’t giving out change and at $1 or more an hour, finding that many quarters can be difficult. If you don’t have a credit card or debit card, you can’t park. Lower income folks often have neither.

    • Fruzsina Eordogh says:

      You’re absolutely right, Laura. I forgot to mention the lack of dollar slots/charging the credit card in dollar increments.

      Thanks for bringing it up!

  3. stushea says:

    I wonder if Mary Schmich lives in the city. (If she doesn’t, I don’t really give a rat’s patootie WHAT she thinks about it.)

    Chicagoans are up in arms about the parking boxes because
    1) parking now costs more;
    2) the new rules hurt local businesses; and
    3) the city gave away a great source of revenue for pennies on the $20. We’ve seen this kind of idiocy and corruption before. It’s not because we’re lazy.


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