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ICYMI: Rockville’s Parking Woes Made National News

Slate.com blogger likens use of zoning laws to govern the number parking spaces at new developments to ‘Soviet-style economic central planning.’

Parking in Rockville was the subject of Slate.com's Moneybox blogpost in December 2013. FILE | Burlington Patch
Parking in Rockville was the subject of Slate.com's Moneybox blogpost in December 2013. FILE | Burlington Patch

The parking situation in Rockville is bad, but is it really bad enough to make it nationally newsworthy?

Well, in case you missed it, Rockville’s parking woes really did make national news—a Dec. 12 post at Slate.com’s Moneybox Blog used parking Rockville as a touch point for a broader discussion about who should shoulder the burden of making it available.

The blog post referenced The Gazette’s account of Duball Rockville LLC’s presentation to the Rockville City Council on Dec. 9, explaining why they wanted to reduce residential parking by 40 percent at a project slated for Rockville Town Square.

At that meeting, Patch has reported, Duball President Marc Dubick asserted to the Mayor and Council that “there’s excess parking” in Rockville Town Square. The council body seemed unconvinced—as did a few Patch readers

The writer uses this to make a bigger argument for why such matters, like parking availability, should be left to market forces, and likened the use of zoning laws to govern the number parking spaces at new developments to “Soviet-style economic central planning.” 

The blog post goes on to say:

“Suppose other kinds of business decisions were made this way. Maybe someone wants to open a burger joint in Rockville, but he doesn't want to serve milkshakes. One councilman says the last time he wanted to get a milkshake there was a very long line, so obviously the new burger place must serve milkshakes. Another councilman protests that he doesn't even like burgers. Aren't more people vegetarians these days?”

Read the full post, Central Planning in America, at Slate.com 

>>> Speak out: What do you think about this post at Slate.com? Should the city leave matters, such as parking availability, to the forces of the market?

Ramon Miro January 09, 2014 at 12:20 PM
I agree with the Slate article. Private parking is not a public good, nor is it a health and safety or accessibility issue, such as sprinkler systems and access ramps. Therefore, developers should be under no mandates to provide it. If they miscalculate, they will reap the cost in the form of unoccupied units. Current City of Rockville zoning forces non vehicle owners to subsidize parking for those who opt to drive, inflating the cost of housing and negating the benefits of transit oriented smart growth. It also makes for some very un appealing residential architecture that must accommodate excess parking. Rockville is being left behind by forward looking smart growth taking place immediately to its south. As a car owner, I'd be willing to pay for a scarce parking spot in exchange for more affordable housing.
Tom Moore January 10, 2014 at 11:44 PM
The conversation continues! I responded to Slate's Mr. Yglesias; read it here: councilmembermoore.org/?p=198 Astoundingly, he sent a quite gracious reply just half an hour later: councilmembermoore.org/?p=204

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