Home > Appreciated Quotes > Do Some Commissioners See $$$$ In Bicycle Parking? Or, Is It Just Hot Air?

Do Some Commissioners See $$$$ In Bicycle Parking? Or, Is It Just Hot Air?

Monday’s Quote Question

Complete Video at UpNorthMedia (subject begins at 30-min mark)

A different kind of quote this Monday from Traverse City commissioner Ralph Soffredine. Last Monday night he voted against increasing the idea of fines for parking meter violations. After the vote, he posed the above question, in what could only be interpreted as a response, a challenge if you may, to public comment by yours truly.

So, the question is: does commissioner Soffredine really think Traverse City should charge for bicycle parking? What is his rationale?

Or, like comments on a lot of issues was his comment simply a knee jerk reaction made because he was in a testy mood?

Soffredine has a lot of defenders in the community and I continually don’t see it. I took his question as a subtle attack against a citizen expressing his opinion in support of a measure. I made no comment about bicycle infrastructure and kept my comments to how I understand the issue at hand: rates for storing cars downtown. I wish my commissioners could focus as well. If he feels the city needs to financially mitigate the use of bicycles, by all means, I want him to state his case.

NOTE: The city commission will be considering enacting rate increases at the Nov. 15 meeting. I was present at last Monday’s meeting for other reasons, but did stand up to speak in favor of the increases because  1) they should help mitigate the negative impact of motor vehicles by reinvesting the revenue into the community; 2) rates can be used to increase circulation (who really takes $5 seriously); 3) rates can be managed to create incentives for drivers to use the parking decks (generally, p-decks need to be cheaper than surface parking).

It’s questionable if the DDA is tackling these rates for broad strategic reasons and implementation, but parking fine increases are a start. Apparently, a $5 fine for meter violation, which basically allows you to rent public space for car storage for an entire day, is already too high for commissioner Soffredine. If so, I urge him to get on a bike and take advantage of heavily subsidized bicycle parking.


Poorly titled TCBN article: TC Might Double Parking Fines

  1. November 8, 2010 at 9:12 am

    . Apparently, a $5 fine for meter violation, which basically allows you to rent public space for car storage for an entire day, is already too high for commissioner Soffredine.

    But I don’t think that’s true: I’ve been repeatedly ticketed for leaving my car in a metered space. I think it ends up being 20 or 25. Still low by coastal standards, but enough to make the deck cost competitive.

    I think the way TC has done this is understandable–they don;t want the fines to seem too punitive or mercenary. They want people to leave LIKING TC. They don’t want the Parking folks to live behind 6″ of bulletproof plexiglass like they do in NYC.

    Your Soffredine clip is a bit too short to make any judgment about his motive, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he weren’t turning the table on you a bit. You are, let’s face it, deeply hostile to cars. Most people drive cars. You will experience some pushback.

    I mean, if this very mild caqe-rattling is enough to elicit a complaint, you are in the wrong game with the wrong opponents.

    Is Soffredine your natural ally? I doubt it. With some work & patience & tolerance on your part can he be your unnatural ally? Stranger things have happened.

  2. November 8, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Yeah: “It shall be a separate offense to park at a metered space for each period of time equal to the maximum allowed on the meter.”

    And as I remember it you get hit for *both* overtime meter and exceeding the space limit time if they’re really cranky.

  3. November 8, 2010 at 9:43 am

    The fines, for meters, are $5 within the 1st 15 days, $10 between 16-30 days and $15 after 30 days, like you said, not too punitive and thus, I’d argue, fairly ineffective. You can see the entire list of fines in Chap 488.

    The clip I pulled was his comment in entirety; it followed the vote by commissioners. You can watch the parking discussion at UpNorthMedia beginning around the 30-minute mark. I agree with you, Sofferdine can at times be an ally..in fact he has been, although I’m drawing a blank on what right now. I’m also certain enough that he is thick skinned enough to take a little pushback from me when he makes snide comments during public meetings.

    I appreciate your comments, Oran. It’s nice to have new voices chiming in and challenging positions. I disagree with your point that I’m “let’s face it, deeply hostile to cars.” I agree, that if someone gave a quick perusal of the content on MyWHaT that may be their perception, but that certainly isn’t my intent. Obviously, I can do better. Mainly I’m arguing for a city to be planned with people as a priority and not letting one mode of transportation dominate our spaces, investments and energy.

    I own a car. I drive a car. Sometimes, I’m lazy and I drive a car for trips where its not necessary. Much of what I argue for through the blog is not against cars, but FOR motorists as well. For instance, no one has argued more than I in favor of the city to keep pursuing the roundabout solution along Division and yet, that scheme is a major compromise for the cycling and pedestrian community. I like it because it is a compromise that will improve conditions for everyone with the least amount of negative impacts on the community. And, if we can get past the fear of the unknown, it is politically possible. As a driver, I look forward to the increased safety and smoother traffic flow if the scheme can be implemented. I also look forward to the easier crossing of Division when walking or on a bicycle. However, I probably still won’t be riding north and south on the street, which is unfortunate, but not feasible with the stakeholders at hand.

    I look forward to more of your comments.

  4. November 8, 2010 at 9:46 am

    That all said, I may be a little anti-car. 🙂

  5. November 8, 2010 at 10:17 am

    OK. “Deeply” may have overstated the case 😉 But you CAN be multiply ticketed for overstaying your meter. I paid those tickets, so it damned well better have been legal.

  6. Anonymouse
    November 11, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    How did you download the video from UpNorthMedia? I’ve tried and it will not download for me.

    Soffredine seems to be in a testy mood quite often.

  7. November 11, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    I use Snapz Pro X to capture screen grabs of video. There are other software solutions, but that is the one I use--MyWHaT endorsed.

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