Previously, I have covered the challenge faced by the suburb of Blaine in managing parking for its newest city park, Lakeside Commons Park.
The city has decided, after some debate, not to buy a very large new parking lot and slap down yet more pavement… this year, at least. Instead, starting in June, Blaine residents could get a free parking permit for the existing lots. Non-residents could get either a single-day parking pass for $5, or a full-season pass for $20. To park at the park, you must have a permit. But having a permit does not guarantee you a parking spot.
The city hopes that this system will allow them to measure if demand is truly Blaine residents — this is a city park — or non-Blaine residents, treating it more as a regional park.
Parking policy is only being enforced from 10AM – 6PM.
The whole thing is pretty ridiculous, as can be seen if you read coverage of the council meeting in which this plan was developed. The park is hard to access via any means but car, because while Blaine asked developers to set aside this land for park use, Blaine itself is a very difficult city in which to cycle or walk between destinations. There are some very random bike paths that go pretty much nowhere, and much of the city lacks sidewalks. Several major roads also create challenges for even experienced adult cyclists.
It’s another fine example of how poor development choices — even those driven by good intention, such as having housing developers set aside parkland — and an emphasis on vehicular traffic create new issues for cities. By subsidizing parking, even in places intended for active enjoyment, we’re creating a self-reiforcing system of stupid.