On Sunday, as teased on Twitter by our own @streetsmn account, the Star Tribune posted an article It’s not your imagination — parking is disappearing in Minneapolis. The subhead and picture on the article gave a taste of what was to come, with a picture of a bicyclist, and “As as city reduces spots to encourage biking and transit, the cost is going up.”
Actual caption on the online photo header: “Minneapolis officials have been holding back downtown parking construction for years, instead bicycle lanes, like this one on 3rd Avenue S., to encourage people to find ways besides cars to get around.”
Ai yi yi. And that’s before we criticize the construction of that sentence.
In previous posts I gave comments sections a rating of 1 to 5 stars, where 1 means “reading these made us feel dumber,” and 5 means “we have hope for our civilization and maybe not everyone insists on driving from Stillwater to Eden Prairie every day.” Since this is a single-outlet article, we’ll rate the comments section as a whole, and call out some of the most delightful comments.
Overall Comments Section Rating: 1
While there were some rays of sense in the comments, the predominant voice was “city planners forcing people to live how they think we should,” “spend money outside the city” and “bicyclists suck.”
Key Theme 1: Liberal Plot/City Planning
- twinsfan03 says: “This is a classic example of the government trying to force people to live the way they want you to live… pathetic. I don’t care what the issue is, I do not need to government dictating where I can park my car and how I can get to work.”
- stuart06 says: “The Mpls city council and city planners are attempting to perform social engineering, by making it a missery to drive and try to park downtown. Well, they will kill the downtown.”
- kamura calls Minneapolis “Red Square.”
- imstrong says: “Rich liberals never use public transportation. Not the Obamas, not the Clintons, not rich Hollywood limousine liberals, and certainly not wealthy people in Manhattan. Look at all the taxis in Manhattan sometime. Public transit is foisted upon us little folks by the limousine liberals who intentionally make places car unfriendly.”
Key Theme 2: I’ll Show Them By Not Spending Money There!
- just me says: “Thank you very much, I will continue to shop, dine, recreate, out of Mpls. I can’t tell you the last time I was in Mpls, or even drove thru. I go out of my way to not go thru Mpls, so my dollars, which MPLS loves, are not being spent there.” Liked 17 times by other users!
- emilysfriend says: ” I’ll keep my suburban home, and stay out of Minneapolis – thank you!”
Key Theme 3: Bicyclists Suck
- holdt01 says: “The city council has been hijacked by the bike and transit lobby to the detriment of the majority of city residents that still need to drive to jobs and other activities outside of downtown Minneapolis.”
- jam213 says: “Bike lanes .. waste of money in downtown Minneapolis considering the majority of bicyclists ride their bikes on the sidewalks, down streets without bike lanes, and in the wrong lane going the wrong way.”
- holstj says: “So many better places to go for entertainment and dinning than DT Mpls.” (Personal pet peeve: “dinning.” You spell it that way and don’t mean “making a loud, unpleasant or prolonged noise,” much as these comments are virtually, I roll my eyes.)
Voices of Reason:
- anondson says: “Parking is expensive, and drivers love the social engineering arrangement of not paying the true cost up front. Hiding it in the shared rent means they don’t pay for it right? Hiding it in the purchase prices means it was “free”, right?”
- samiam says: “You don’t own the parking in front of your house. If you need parking invest in a garage or at least a parking spot.” (He would be driven out of town in St. Paul for this view.)
- swmnguy provides a lengthy insight: “As Minneapolis grows and matures, getting people to stop car commuting to downtown jobs is a necessary and inevitable process. Now we need to make it easier, faster, and more convenient for downtown workers to use public transportation.The shortsighted embrace of car culture and sprawl 60 years ago makes it challenging to implement a coherent mass transit system, but not impossible. We need more access to park-and-rides in the suburbs, and more reliable, fast, transit to downtown. Buses are not the answer. Buses are OK for short point-to-point trips, but for large-scale regular commuting, every major metropolitan area uses rail and it works very well.It will take us a while to undo the criminal folly of dismantling our rail system 60 years ago, but eventually we will, and the city and the entire urban area will be the better for it.”
Thanks, Star Tribune, for publishing this on the Sunday of a 3-day weekend. I’m going to power brunch now, where “power” is a synonym for “vodka drinks.” If you, dear reader, read more comments as they come, feel free to add them in the comments. You can also feel free to read one of the more than 100 articles on streets.mn about parking for a little light beach reading.