Friday, December 23, 2005

Street Theater

Captain Ric, Houseboat Ric, was telling me a story yesterday about architectural students at the University of Cincinnati who dreamed up a project to test the limits on the public's use of public spaces.

Parking meters are primarily a tool used by municipalities to raise money, pure and simple. Their secondary purpose, to encourage turnover to the benefit of merchants, is belied by parkers having the option of buying up to 12 hours of parking by putting in enough quarters, at least here in Key West.

The City recently raised meter rates by fifty percent, from $1 an hour to $1.50. The quarter that bought 15 minutes last month now get you only 10 minutes. Parking revenues have been sharply down and are contributing to a shortfall in City revenues in this year's budget.

Ric has an idea that is similar to the one in Cincinnati. He wants to organize an event in which a group of bicyclists commandeer the metered spaces on Caroline Street and create a pseudo bike lane between Margaret and William Streets for a couple of hours, and hold a bike-in during that time. Such an event would also resemble the bicycle event I linked to yesterday.

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