Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 19th, 2008 at 3:01 pm
should pay to park!
(Screenshot from KATU-TV video).
I was afraid this might happen.
KATU-TV is one of the first bits of coverage I’ve seen and it seems they’re setting the stage for another round of “bikes vs. cars.”
KATU’s headline was the first sign of trouble; Spots for cars sacrificed as demand grows for bicycle parking (emphasis mine).
The television version of the story opens with in-studio anchors who introduce the story like this:
“Sharing the road with bicyclists is certainly important here in Portland, and now the city wants drivers to share parking spots too.”
“We know how important these parking spaces really are, and now the city has come in and added a bunch of bike corrals…”
— KATU reporter Valerie Hurst
In a live report from the new corral in front of Powell’s, KATU’s Valerie Hurst opens with, “This has really turned out to be a very passionate issue for a lot of people.” She then continues with,
“We’ve been out here on all morning and there’s a lot of traffic…and we’ve noticed in the last couple hours trying to get a parking spot around here is really hard; as soon as one car goes in another car goes out. So we know how important these parking spaces really are, and now the city has come in and added a bunch of bike corrals…”
And then of course is the obligatory, “Some people we are talking to say bikes should pay a fee to park just like drivers do.”
KATU then interviews two people on the street. The first one is an elderly man who says cyclists should “pay for it like we do” and the other was someone introduced as a “cyclist who said she would consider paying”. The cyclist’s statement seemed odd and she said something like, “for it to cost very much it’d have be more than just a rack.” (maybe she was thinking about BikeStation type facilities).
Unfortunately, despite the racks teeming with bike parkers, KATU didn’t interview anyone who was pleased with them.
From that, KATU “did the math” and found that based on the $1.25 an hour it costs to park a car downtown, bikes would have to pay $1.72 per day (or .16 cents per hour). The reporter then said,
“It may not sound like much, but that adds up to about $10 a week per cyclist of lost revenue.”
The City of Portland told KATU that they’re not worried about the lost revenue and that cars are charged in part to pay for the vast amounts of damage they cause to the roads.
Back in the studio, the anchors say how they’re already being swamped with emails about the new bike parking. They then splash a graphic on the screen from an anonymous viewer who wrote in to say that he thinks bikes should not only pay to park but that they should have licenses as well because he/she is, “very tired of picking up the tab for rude, law-breaking bike riders” (not sure what that has to do with bike parking).
That graphic is followed by another by a woman who says if more people biked it would be good for the environment.
Also, in what has become expected form with types of stories is the all-important poll. Here’s the poll accompanying KATU’s story:
The online version of KATU’s story inexplicably links the new bike parking corrals with the recently installed bike boxes where, “Motorized vehicles are required to wait behind the green sections of pavement.”
Then a revealing, pre-emptive comment is left below the story by a KATU employee that’s directed at other commenters. He writes:
“Responders: As always, bikes and cars are a divisive topic. So a reminder: Keep it clean, no name calling, no flame wars. Offensive comments or comments that add nothing to the debate will be deleted. Thanks for taking the high road. – KATU.com”
No KATU, thank you for taking the high road!
Is our city really divided about the issue of whether or not bikes should pay to park downtown?
Maybe I’m overly sensitive to this sort of thing, but I can’t ignore how this story so blatantly frames all this in such an anti-bike, “us vs. them” way. It’s almost like they’re paving the way to controversy and hoping to ignite some flames.
Does anyone else get that feeling?