Thursday, November 06, 2008


Parking problem solved, Part One

There is no parking in Cambridge, MA, let alone Boston.  I am considered a lucky guy, to have a paid parking spot at my workplace on the far distant outskirts of Cambridge.  There were no cars when Boston and Cambridge were invented, so neither city is quite sure what to do with them.  If you showed up with a few hundred barrels of rum, or a ship full of shoe buckles, salt cod, corsets, and latin Bibles, all would be well (though the Bibles would have to bear a Stamp Act stamp, or they'd tell on you to King George IV so fast your head would spin).  So yeah, driving is an adventure.  As the local legend goes, the roads around here weren't so much planned as just thrown on down wherever the cows had stomped a path.  F.L. Olmstead designed all the famous parks, and hopefully got paid well for all his fine work, but the roads?  Mooooo.  Yankee #$% ingenuity at its fertilizery fintest.  Can you smell it?  If you've ever driven in Boston or Cambridge, you'll agree.  
     So how do you solve a parking problem?  Think about it rationally.  A parking problem is a mismatch of spaces and cars.   "Too few spaces" has always been the cry, but perhaps... perhaps...   what if, instead of trying to cram a few more spaces into the city, or introducing the Kar Krusher (TM) Parking Multiplier:

What if we cut down on the number of cars?  Now, I'm not some bleeding-heart, Tax'n'spend, Godless Punk Liberal (living in Massachusetts though I do) who thinks people should be coerced into using *Gasp* public transportation, or unicycles, or teleportation, or whatever the $%^ it is that they're always blabbering on about, because that has been failing to work since approximately 1965, and it's time to put that argument to rest.  No, my idea was way better.  I say "was" because it is, alas, too late.  My idea, the most inspired urban traffic and parking solution since the hitching post, was:

The Bleeding Artery Tunnel Project
You see, I came to the Boston Metropolitan Area far into the Big Dig, and I realized right off that it was a corpse waiting to bloat.  The Central Artery Tunnel project was designed with a certain volume of traffic in mind, and, of course, that volume was considered a quaint little throwback by the time the first shovelful of dirt was symbolically turned by a bunch of bigwigs with golden fake shovels.  What was needed was a relatively small alteration to the plan.  You see, the central artery is just a fancy name for a big underground highway.  Nice, in theory, with green space above it and so on, but no way to increase capacity, and if there's an accident in there, you're hosed.  Interestingly enough, though, the giant highway passes within a few hundred yards of Boston Harbor.  Hmmm, you say.  As did I.  So here's the idea:

Just a quick 90 degree turn to the East, and so many problems solved.  If you kept it really quiet, and almost nobody knew that the new highway actually led out to a Wile E. Coyote-style drop into the harbor, then you could have a big opening-day spectacle of tens of thousands of drivers sacrificing themselves and their cars to the Mighty Atlantic, Poseidon be praised, and after that....  More parking spaces, less traffic, less demand for apartments and therefore lower rents... paradise.  Even if everyone figured it out by the next day and the Bleeding Artery Tunnel never ditched anyone but hopeless tourists again, the purpose would be served.  Of couse I, with my legendarily bad sense of direction, would be dead a week later, knowing full well how the Bleeding Artery Tunnel Project was designed, but thinking that I was on the Alewife Brook Parkway or something.  Still, to have Saved Boston, it would all be worth it.

Next time, a more political solution.

Your Humblest and most Devoted Servant,

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