Friday, December 18, 2009

The Pittsburgh Ethic and the Spirit of the Parking Chair

but first a jobs note:  We could talk about how the Pennsylvania's unemployment rate droped 4/10ths of a percent... which is a pretty big drop month over a month as these things go.  If it holds up it would be a big event. Some routine coverage of the news, but not as much as usual.  I sense some cognitive dissonance as it were of potentially positive good economic news.   There is also this belief that that Pittsburgh somehow is just slow to get into recessions, but that things eventually get as bad as elsewhere.  That hasn't been true through the last couple recessions at the very least.  So we will learn the comparable local unemployment rate after the 1st of the year, but maybe we will get a strong early indication from local employment numbers that we will be able to look at later today.

But on much more substantive news.  Just in case you didn't see it.   Ms. Mon scoops everyone with what the parking authority is really up to. It's not the garages or the meters, they are looking to privatize the Pittsburgh parking chair business!!  Like the cookie table, it just does not happen anywhere else... at least on such a scale as here.  Hey, maybe that could be a NYT story as well.  As funny as that is, there is a real point in there.   Privatizing the mostly Downtown garages is one thing which I myself suggested last year... but privatizing street meters is going to bump up into a whole lot of local neighborhood perogatives, let alone development issues, which are a different set of issues and should at the very least be a separate debate/rfp/etc.  Probably won't be as best I can tell from the machinations thus far.

and here is an idea..  If it's there I can't find it, but shouldn't there be a Wikipedia entry on "Pittsburgh Parking Chair".  Colbert once was able to get his viewers to get Wikipedia to report that "the elephant population in Africa tripled over the last six months"..  Can we inspire a (far more fact-based) Wikipedia entry on the Pittsburgh Parking Chair.  Don't forget the caps.   If I am just missing it somewhere, pls let me know. 


Blogger n'at said...

Boston, Philly and Chicago residents do it too. Chicago and Boston DPW will remove them - dunno about Philly. I think Chicago Mayor Daley has endorsed the use of the parking chair.

If anything, the parking chair only increases the likelihood of people parking at metered stalls. I have never seen a parking chair in front of a meter: parking permit zones, yes, metered stalls, no.

Friday, December 18, 2009 9:53:00 AM  
Blogger Ms. Monongahela, Ms. Chief Editor said...

If I could be serious (I wrote a cover story for Pittsburgh City Paper about the Pittsburgh Parking Chair a few years ago, and Gene Ricciardi, the then councilperson for that district, did not return my calls), we could start by asking ourselves how much revenue the city has lost by refusing to make South Side a permit zone. (And yes, in that story, I mentioned that this practice occurs in a few other cities.)

Then, there are issues of livability. When you are deciding on a place to live -- are you going to choose a place where residents are territorial in this way? Isn't the sight of old, broken-down parking chairs on a street a little off-putting? And just for fun, we could ask a property assessor if having chairs on the street devalues a home. (Well, if that's one's idea of fun.)

How often does the city respond to an argument over parking chairs, and thus used city resources -- and your tax dollars -- to resolve the matter?

How much revenue has the city lost over the decades by refusing to rightfully ticket for the chairs?

How much money has PennDot lost in stolen cones used for this purpose?

So many questions. Perhaps I could convince someone to pay me $600,000 to evaluate, and a friend $25,000 to be a "second set of eyes."

Friday, December 18, 2009 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger illyrias said...

I remember the parking chair phenomenon from when I lived in the Boston area - turns out Boston has legislated the parking chair and it's only used for delineating your shoveled parking spot within 48 hours of a storm. I'm sure they were in full use this weekend. boston parking chair link

Pittsburgh may still be unique in the year-round use of the parking chair. I view it as a quirk that signals are commendable housing density (if not quite commendable public transportation). But if Boston, Chicago, and Philly have to do it, we're not in bad company.

Monday, December 21, 2009 1:04:00 PM  

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