(These signs were put up today in an effort to shuffle humans out of the way to make room for new auto parking plans)
In a surprise move today, the Santa Monica City Council has unveiled ambitious plans to turn the 3rd. Promenade, currently a pedestrian only space, into a car roadway with side street parking and new underground parking, along with other far reaching parking expansion initiatives. Bob Holbrook announced to business leaders of the Santa Monica Downtown District, and pro-socialized auto parking care editorialists for the Santa Monica Daily Press, that the council has heard their calls for more parking and cheaper parking downtown, loud and clear. To a rapt crowd of drivers and cars he announced:
For many years now the Third Street Promenade has stood out as an unusual public street space in the L.A. region due to it's lack of cars. People came far and wide to watch the unusual patterns of social interaction that happen outside the confines of the car, but alas, as the population of automobiles in the L.A. region has grown faster than human reproduction. There simply is too much demand for parking spaces, and not enough streets to drive on. To meet this growing demand, Santa Monica will pave the way for a future of more parking. At the center of this plan will be transforming Third Street into a real Street, one for car travel again, complete with side street parking. Center medians will be replaced with ramps leading to brand new subterranean parking network.
But we can do more. Existing parking garages will be double stacked, and city owned properties in the downtown area will become the site of brand new parking towers. Fitting within zoned height restrictions of course. In a landmark first for any city in America, we are going to convert bike lanes, which nobody uses anyways, into space for on street double parking. For double your pleasure! As the terminus of Route 66, and the I-10, it is only appropriate that Santa Monica become the car parking capitol of America, so even more automobiles can enjoy our wonderful beaches.
Most of the crowd at the press conference was ecstatic, particularly the cars in attendance, that they would have so many new places to park. A few skeptics in the crowd asked how this plan would be paid for. Subterranean parking construction can cost between $50,000 and $80,000 per parking space after all. However these questions remained unanswered as they were drowned out by the booing of the crowd that was disappointed anyone would dare question the value of more parking spaces.
Obviously this is dire news for those of us advocating for more livable and human oriented street spaces. It is quite a blow to see Santa Monica, a city that had been making some strides in human oriented city planning, give up and revert fully to it's automobile oriented ways. However we must not give up hope. It is quite likely in the near future peak oil production (or rather undulating plateau, Washington speak to make it sound less scary) will be upon us. Non OPEC-oil production has not exceeded the levels in 2004 in the years since. How deep the OPEC oil reserves goes is not entirely sure as it is widely believed they overstate their numbers. Automobile reproduction could be sent into a spiraling decline in the years ahead, and humans will rise once again to be the focus of city planning.