7 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2020
    1. alternative activities creatively solicit, collect, and even rank ideas without any assumption that community members should agree. By displaying the full range of ideas, they also put more pressure on public officials to transparently explain why they pursued a certain path without resorting to the kind of “community” talk I observed in Upham’s Corner and Mattapan.

      We did this when discussing the AM bus lane for Mass Ave in Arlington - there was an in-person presentation and people put sticky notes on a giant copy of the plan to note particular concerns. There was an online version after that meeting as well, where those who couldn't go to the meeting could submit further feedback.

    2. What if instead of public meetings—constrained by both time and space, where the optimal outcome is consensus and therefore “no” has more power than “yes”—we invested more in low cost, ongoing exercises that produce a high volume of information, persist even after particular projects are completed, make priorities transparent, and neither seek nor assume a singular position from “the community”?

      I remember Chris Schmidt making a comment about how the online meetings for the Cambridge City Council suddenly had much higher attendance when the pandemic kicked in. But of course that means the meetings themselves got even longer.

    3. In Upham’s Corner, the community wanted a park, didn’t want a park, wanted affordable housing, didn’t want affordable housing, and on and on—there was no single community position to juxtapose against the City or a potential developer. Similar scenarios are easy to imagine; in any neighborhood, opinions will vary. The Mattapan case is complicated for additional reasons. The community simultaneously “won” and “lost”: Middle-class residents were unable to block the new station, while low-income residents gained greater access to public transit. Supporting the community did not necessarily mean supporting poor urban residents.

      Conflicting needs, and the best we can do is "nobody is satiisfied, even if they got what they wanted, because it took so long to do anything about."

    4. It’s Time to Move On From Community Consensus Public meetings often disprove the notion that communities have a unified stance on any issue. With this in mind, we must move past trying to find consensus and focus on uplifting the most marginalized voices.

      Provocative summary. How does anyone determine the most marginalized voices in a given situation without turning it into competitive Oppression Olympics?

      Two informative case studies from Boston.

    1. make on-street parking expensive (to reflect its real costs) and to make transit cheap or free. The way we price transit, and don’t price private car storage in the public realm, is evidence of “Asphalt Socialism“–subsidies for cars and driving, and high prices and penalties for those who take transit.

      Socialism for the oligarchs, the pointy end of capitalism for everyone else.

    2. the only places where transit really works well in the United States are in the areas where cities charge for parking.  When street parking is free, people own cars and drive, depriving transit systems of customers and revenue, and skewing the transit ridership to the dispossessed and powerless.

      Though NYC has probably the most comprehensive transit capabilities in the US, and it somehow fails to charge for parking permits. Surprisingly, SF appears to be the "big winner" here, $12/month for a parking permit and $81/month for a Muni pass. (However, in these pandemic times, I wonder how much buying monthly passes has decreased. And for a compact city, so much SF stuff still assumes you have a car.)

      Also of note: huge swaths of SF are SFH yet still have (one-car) garages so you don't have to park your (first) car on the street. Compare how many cars per household in SF, in the Bay Area, and contrast with NYC.

    3. on most streets, in most cities — including, bizarrely New York City — street parking is completely unpriced almost everywhere.  In effect, the prices shown for parking in Goodman’s sample overstate what city’s actually charge for parking: it’s mostly zero.

      $70 for a monthly transit pass vs. $2.25 for a monthly parking permit. I wonder what the price for a monthly parking permit averages out to among the cities that DO charge.