A Parking Nazi Power Play For Citywide Control

by Travis Mateer

When government starts complaining about something, watch out. And when they offer a solution, be VERY skeptical. That’s what I’m doing with the attempt to get citizens in this town comfortable with a citywide parking district.

The power play coming from the Parking Commission is quite impressive. The strategy to con citizens into accepting this power play is the unlikely use of parking as leverage to compel affordable housing development. Here’s how Marin “Gomer” Kidston is setting up his readers for this convoluted scheme:

Citing the city’s goals around housing and transportation, the Missoula Parking Commission this week agreed to hire a consultant to explore the creation of a citywide parking district.

The commission currently regulates parking in the downtown area and permit parking in some residential neighborhoods. But with Missoula’s growth and its quest for greater density, regulated parking will be needed in other parts of the city, the commission agreed.

Yep, a consultant is being hired, which sends the signal to me that public opinion will probably be told to go fuck itself if public opinion in any way deviates from the QUEST of our local gentrification enablers to pack people into the sardine can future all the MASTER plans say must happen.

Here’s how a Parking Commission foot soldier by the name of Glenda Bradshaw sees the sense of what is being proposed:

“It makes a lot of sense – though there are a lot mechanics to be worked out – to expand citywide instead of doing it piecemeal,” said commission member Glenda Bradshaw. “Doing it on a citywide basis would allow us to do a better job on behalf of the citizens and visitors to this community instead of just looking at it by location.”

Hey, Glenda, I’m sure you think you’re correct, but maybe consider explaining WHY “doing it on a citywide basis would allow us to do a better job…” Is it because MORE MONEY? Is that why citywide control is suddenly so important to push?

Here’s more from the Gomer fluff piece declaring the inherent GOODNESS of making this move:

Creating a citywide district positions the commission to address a number of future scenarios while making it more proactive as needs and opportunities arise.

“We would be best served – the citizens would be best served – if we had jurisdiction over the entire city with the understanding that we’d always be intentional with deliverance and any plans that would impact folks as part of the managed parking process,” Bradshaw said.

The emphasis I added on being INTENTIONAL is to highlight a bullshit buzzword that immediately raises red flags for me. It’s important to identify and ignore the empty PR language as it’s being used to lull readers into a sort of cognitive complacency.

Now, here’s how the housing gambit COULD be deployed by our city leaders:

Parking could play a key piece in the city’s code reform efforts, which are set to begin this year. Providing parking in new developments consumes land and costs money, driving up the price of the end product. 

When it comes to housing, reducing parking requirements could help address housing costs, and it’s a tool the city is considering as it moves forward. The parking commission could help advance those goals with citywide jurisdiction.

One scenario could see the commission help fund a set number of parking spaces in exchange for a set number of affordable housing units. It believes the Missoula Redevelopment Agency could help, and the city is currently exploring other incentives around parking and housing affordability.

Ok then, great ideas! Let’s make sure the public just accepts these dictates and asks no questions as these government foot soldiers speculate on potential hiccups, like their sad lack of enforcement capacity.

As parts of Zoom Town become a meth-fueled dystopia, it’s nice to think law enforcement could be tasked with more vehicle problems in a future citywide realm controlled by Parking Nazis. Here’s how our luminaries are anticipating this particular challenge:

Enforcing the parking it provides will be required. 

“We have engaged in public-private partnerships in the past – Roam is an example,” Easton said. “There are limitations in what we can invest in and bond, and other entities have to participate. But I don’t think investing in private parking as a blanket statement is off the table, and there are public-private partnerships that are available to parking commissions.”

While creating a citywide parking district has its benefits, it also comes with challenges, the commission said. Among them, the commission doesn’t have the resources to enforce parking violations across the city, and it’s unlikely that the police department would willingly take that on, members suggested.

Ah, yes, MORE glorious PPP relationships to consider. Who cares if MORE public/private partnerships will produce MORE reliance on things like private security? And therefore LESS accountability?

Ultimately I’m pleased to see the Parking Nazis telegraphing their citywide ambitions because what’s coming, eventually, is the incremental removal of vehicular freedom from the transportation grid, and THAT is something that needs a little more public input before it’s too late.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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1 Response to A Parking Nazi Power Play For Citywide Control

  1. Daniel Carlino says:

    There’s no way the Parking Commission could create a city-wide parking district on their own.. I’m pretty firm on abolishing the U-district residential parking permit program and re-opening those spaces to the public.

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