You shovel out the on-street parking spot in front of your house and you don’t have a driveway. You grab some hot cocoa, shower off, or perhaps take a nice warm bath, and daydream about buying a snowplow. After departing for work the next day, the spot that you worked so hard to clear gets taken. You’re in for an icy reception upon your return.
The Cognosenti page, run by Boston University public radio station, WBUR, discussed “The Social Ethics of Parking Space Savers,” or as they’re known in Philadelphia, “savesies”:
“The split between those who hoard their spots, and those who spread the wealth for the next guy, uncovers a philosophical divide. Do I exhume my car and leave, content in knowing that ‘my’ spot will soon be snatched up, but trusting that later, I’ll score a spot someone else has shoveled out? Or do I ensure that my shoveling labors are rewarded with a private, albeit temporary, parking space for myself, and my neighbors’ needs be damned?”
Author Ethan Gilsdorf, continued:
“The real battle isn’t over public space. It’s about two warring schools of thought — those who believe in short term payoff for one’s individual labor, and those who think one’s individual labor should benefit the longer term common good.”
Over the past couple of days, many have likely witnessed acts of common kindness, as well as cringe-worthy rude behavior. But what are citizens’ obligations after a historic snowstorm or any extreme weather-related event?
At the forefront of most community efforts is shoveling the driveways, sidewalks and steps of our more vulnerable populations. But what about now, during the aftermath?
In Trenton, Meals on Wheels (MOW) volunteers could not deliver to their clients Monday due to few parking spaces being available. To complicate matters, most of the helpers at the Mercer County nonprofit are over 65 years old and struggling to even walk the slippery sidewalks. These aren’t city sidewalks either.
Back in 2011, Lambertville warned about saving parking spaces, but Winter Storm Jonas was historic, and so far, the city has made no similar announcement, with the exception of noting that extra parking has been made available at Ely Field, the Justice Center and the Public Library.
Is it up to local governments to encourage better behavior with stricter enforcement of on-street spaces? Or is there an unspoken local moral code that we’re all bound to? For instance, do residents with driveways offer space to neighbors, as long as symbiotic return-assistance is given with shoveling? Or perhaps a 15-minute parking rule can be signaled somehow for quick errands without disrupting others?
What do you think?