The discussion about the on the winter parking ban post has some folks defending the winter parking ban on the basis that parking is bad. (Much on-street) parking is bad. Using city-owned property for private, predominantly free, car storage has a bunch of bad consequences. On-street parking prevents that city-owned space from being used for non-car mobility. Probably the number one obstacle to more bike lanes is on-street, residential parking. And, the availability of cheap — actually publicly subsidized — parking is a strong incentive to embrace the driving lifestyle, which causes congestion and contributes to global climate change.

But, the winter parking ban is not a thoughtful effort to reduce parking and, therefore, to promote biking and discourage driving. It’s an arbitrary and seasonal ban that has little justification for its breadth. The narrow aim of the winter parking ban — to remove cars from the streets during periods of plowing and snow storage — would be served by banning parking by City Hall-declared snow emergencies.

And, there are equity issues. There are areas of the city where the residential development has created dependence on on-street parking.

Let’s substantially reduce the amount of city streets dedicated to parking through a thoughtful, sustained evaluation of actual parking need and opportunity for using the space for better uses. But, so long as parking is available during the three other seasons, let’s make it available for all but snow emergencies during the winter.

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