Saturday, April 02, 2011


I'm increasingly convinced that there is a big generational aspect when it comes to urban issues and parking. People, even urban hellhole dwellers, who came of age when the car was ascendant, can't imagine it any other way and don't get that the type of students who would be interested in living on an urban college campus located right on a metro line are probably the kind of students who are a bit less likely to want to have a car.

At the meeting, there seemed to be little concern about the new student center, which will activate a huge dead plaza in front of drab, bunker-like buildings (inspiringly named "38" and "39.") Building two new residence halls for 600 students on the southwest corner of the campus, however, puts residents on edge–primarily because the campus plan doesn't call for increasing the current footprint of some 800 parking spaces, at the Office of Planning's behest. Won't all those students want to bring their cars?

The graying residents of Tenleytown seemed certain that they would, despite UDC officials' protestations to the contrary.

"I think we all know from our own days in college that that's not true," argued ANC commissioner Karen Perry.

"Having a car is like moving away from your parents," another audience member insisted. "Come on, it's lifestyle!"

Moving away from your parents and having the freedom to get around is... moving away from your parents. No car required everywhere.

I don't think there's a care-free revolution sweeping the country, but this is a selection issue. Students who want to go to places where you don't need a car are going to be much less likely to want to bring a car.